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New book: What stable isotopes in tree rings reveal

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11.07.2022  | Beate Kittl | News WSL 


Two WSL researchers have published and co-authored a new reference volume on isotopes in tree ring research. The method provides valuable information about the interactions between the environment and plants and about the climate of the past. The book is available online and open-access.


The use of stable isotopes in biogeochemical studies has increased significantly in recent years. Researchers use them to investigate environmental questions in palaeoclimatology, forest dynamics or anthropogenic influences on tree growth. This open access volume highlights the numerous applications and assesses weaknesses and strengths of isotope applications in tree rings.

Instead of focusing on statistical analyses, as previous studies have done, this book focuses on the physiological mechanisms that influence isotopic signals and reflect environmental impacts. It shows connections between physiological reactions and isotope variations and explains why environmental influences and climate change are not reflected linearly in isotope ratios and tree ring widths.

This volume is valuable for students wishing to enter the field of dendrology and for all researchers and educators who use tree rings (and other organic matter proxies) to reconstruct climate as well as to understand anthropogenic influences on forest ecosystems.