Dendrochronomics and climate data

how COBECORE assists in wood biology research...

At UGent-Woodlab and the RMCA (Royal Museum for Central Africa), significant efforts are made to improve the current state-of-the-art in tree-ring analysis and dendrochronomics, the study of how wood is formed and which process drive this wood formation and its intrinsic qualities (density, structure). Within dendrochronomics, we focus on the study of increment cores (pencil like wood samples which record the life history of a tree) both at the short-term (intra-annual) and long-term (inter-annual to decadal) scale.

More specifically, we aim to develop a high-throughput multi-scale hard- and software platform to obtain and analyze continuous time series of multi-proxy data, with intra-annual resolution. While fast measurement of time-series of ring width, density, anatomy is being pursued, analysis of such data in function of e.g. a changing climate is only possible if sufficient climate data is available. While such instrumental data is at hand in temperate regions, the lack thereof in tropical Africa is notorious.

COBECORE therefore facilitates dendrochronomics by digitizing decades of historical climate records which will allow wood trait data to answer pressing questions about the fate of the African forests.

Fig 1. - micro-CT scan of the last three growth rings of Entandrophragma spp. with size labeled vessels