Wood Anatomy and Tree-Ring Structure and Their Importance for Tropical Dendrochronology

  • Martin WorbesEmail author
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 210)


In Amazonian floodplain forests, the flood pulse results in an ­alternating aquatic and terrestrial phase per year. Consequentially, trees react with cambial ­dormancy, resulting in differing wood anatomical structures that appear as rings in the cross-section of the trees stem. Annual tree-ring patterns represent a reliable basis that can be used in various ways to gain information on historical growth rates, tree age, and past environmental conditions. In the following chapter, the anatomical background of the visibility of tree rings will be explained and an overview over the wood anatomy and tree-ring structures of the stem of many tree species in the igapó and várzea will be given. Most species in the várzea (77%) show well defined rings around the entire cross-section; most species in the igapó (60%) show distinct rings but they are not visible around the entire cross-section or are generally ill-defined; species with poor and barely visible boundaries originate from the igapó. Despite the large variability of tree rings from tropical regions, their annual nature could be proven for many tree species. This opens the possibility to widely apply tree-ring analytical studies in the tropics.


Ring structure Tree ring analysis Wood anatomy 



E. Fichtler was sponserd by the Scholarship Programme of the German Environmental Foundation. We thank Dieter Eckstein and Jochen Schöngart for their careful review and valuable comments on this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Crop SciencesThe Institute for Agronomy in the Tropics, The University of GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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