Scopus Author ID: 12761040200      Researcher ID: J-7887-2013

Research Topics

  • Wood Anatomy
  • Dendroecology
  • Development of new tools:
    - Tree rings go digital
    Core-microtome - Surface preparation and long micro-sections
    Lab-microtome - Cutting all specimen at high quality
    3D printing - Needful things in the lab
    Sharpening stage - Efficient sharpening of increment corers
    Drill adapter - Adapter to connect accu drills and increment corers for efficient coring
  • Tree roots (root exposure, architecture, biomass)
  • Dendrogeomorphology (erosion, debris flows, landslides, etc.)

Editorial tasks

Dendrochronologia (Associate Editor)

Trees - Structure and Function (Associate Editor)

Forests(Associate Editor)

TRACE-Special-Issues (Managing Editor)

Teaching 2023

Geochronology Summer School 2023 27.08. - 01.09.2023: Pontresina, Morteratsch (CH)
Wood Anatomy & Tree-Ring Ecology 2023 10. - 15.12.2023, Pontresina, Morteratsch (CH)

Courses 2023

International Course on Wood Anatomy & Tree-Ring Ecology 2023

Date: 10. - 15.12.2023

Location: Hotel Morteratsch (, Pontresina (CH)

Other Publications

Gärtner H (2001) Holzanatomische Analyse diagnostischer Merkmale einer Freilegungsreaktion in Jahrringen von Koniferenwurzeln zur Rekonstruktion geomorphologischer Prozesse. Dissertation, Geographisches Institut der Universität Bonn, pp.122

Roer I, Hörsch B, Gärtner H, Dikau R (2001) Bioindication of rock glacier generations in the Turtmanntal (Valais, Switzerland). In: Ist European Permafrost Conference, Rome, 62.

Gärtner H, Bergmann A, Breunig M, Cremers AB, Dikau R (2000) OPALIS - An Open Paleoecological Information System. GIS - Zeitschrift für raumbezogene Information und Entscheidungen 13/2: 6-11.

Schmidt J, Gärtner H (2000) Investigations of geomorphometric siginificance in hydrologic processes using geo-information technologies - results and implications for GIS needs in geomorphology. Schriftenreihe des SFB 350, Vol. 83, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

Schmidt J, Gärtner H, Dikau R (2000) Investigations in Slope Development through Landslide Activity - Concepts, Methods, and Implications for Interdisciplinary and Interoperable Data Management. Schriftenreihe des SFB 350, Vol. 84, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

Gärtner H, Bergmann A (1999) Object-oriented modeling of data sources as a tool for the integration of heterogeneous paleoecological information. In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Geocomputation, Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, Virgina, July 25-28, 1999. Full paper:--- Proceedings GEOCOMPUTATION 99.

Bergmann A, Gärtner H, Breunig M, Cremers AB, Dikau R (1999): Integrierter Zugriff auf heterogene paläoökologische Datenbestände. In: Rautenstrauch,C. & M.Schenk (Hrsg.): Umweltinformatik 99. Umweltinformatik zwischen Theorie und Industrieanwendung. 13.Internationales Symposium Informatik für den Umweltschutz der Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI), Magdeburg 1999, Metropolis-Verlag, Marburg, 403-416.

Bergmann A, Gärtner H, Breunig M, Cremers AB, Dikau R (1998) Design and first steps in the development of OPALIS. In: The International Archives of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Vol. 32, Part 4, ISPRS Commision IV - GIS Between Visions and Applications, 2-58.

Dikau R, Gärtner H, Holl,B, Kienholz H, Mani P, Zimmermann M (1996) Untersuchungen zur Murgangaktivität im Mattertal, Wallis, Schweiz. In: INTERPRAEVENT 1996, Tagungspublikation Bd.1, 397-408.



Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) 97, 2015

(see also the PDF of the manuscript)

A Technical Perspective in Modern Tree-ring Research - How to Overcome Dendroecological and Wood Anatomical Challenges

Gärtner H, Cherubini P, Fonti P, von Arx G, Schneider L, Nievergelt D, Verstege A, Bast A, Schweingruber FH, Büntgen U (2015): Technical challenges in tree-ring research including wood anatomy and dendroecology. Journal of Visualized Experiments (97), e52337, doi:10.3791/52337 (PDF)


Book Download (free)

Gärtner H, Schweingruber FH (2013): Microscopic Preparation Techniques for Plant Stem Analysis. Verlag Dr. Kessel, Remagen. 78 p.



One of the central topics in the further development of an ecologically based wood anatomy is the continuous improvement of preparation techniques.

In this regard, the development of new microtomes is crucial for preparing bigger specimen and to enable time series analysis in wood anatomy.

Until recently, the following microtomes have been developed at the wood anatomy lab of the WSL:

Core-microtome This microtome is designed to cut plain surfaces on increment cores.

Detailed information can be found at:
Gärtner H, Nievergelt D (2010): The core-microtome. A new tool for surface preparation on cores and time series analysis of varying cell parameters. Dendrochronologia 28/2: 85-92.
Lab-microtome The Lab-microtome is designed to cut micro sections of all kind of wooden specimen.

The knife holder is placed on a double guided sledge for a precise guidance of the knife.
The knife holder as well as the sample holder are adjustable in all directions (vertical + horizontal).
The knife holder is designed for disposable blades (NT cutter blades, A-type).
Semi-automated uplift of the sample for constant thickness of the samples during the cutting procedure.

All microtomes are on sale! Please contact: Holger Gärtner