Trees react to their environment, and their wood reflects past climate variability and events such as rockfall or fire. In our tree-ring lab we date and analyze these natural archives.
In the WSL tree-ring lab – the second largest worldwide, and the largest in Europe –, we apply and develop new methodologies in dendrochronology (tree-ring analysis) and wood anatomy. The data we gain from ring width, maximum latewood density, and isotopes are accurate to the year. We use them to measure the impact of environmental stresses on wood anatomy and tree physiological processes, and to reconstruct vegetation history. By dating climate variability over the past millenia, we contribute to validating regional and global climate models.
One of the central topics in the further development of an ecologically based wood anatomy is the continuous improvement of preparation techniques. Two microtomes have been developed and are for sale at the wood anatomy lab of the WSL.