Cite as:
Pucha Cofrep, D.A. (2016): Environmental signals in radial growth, stable isotope variations and nutrient concentration of trees from different forest ecosystems in southern Ecuador Institute of Geography, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, phd thesis

Resource Description

Title: Environmental signals in radial growth, stable isotope variations and nutrient concentration of trees from different forest ecosystems in southern Ecuador
FOR816dw ID: 1526
Publication Date: 2016-03-14
License and Usage Rights: PAK 823-825 data user agreement. (
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Darwin Alexander Pucha Cofrep
Tropical forests and the trees as their principal components have been investigated in detail. However, due to its complexity, their interactions, adaptations and response to climate variations require much more research. In this study, dendrochronological techniques were applied to evaluate the potential of tree-rings from tropical tree species as climate records. Two ecosystems with very distinct climate scenarios were selected from a dry and humid forest in southern Ecuador. A comparative analysis between these two forest types was performed by applying three dendrochronological methods. First, Tree Ring Width (TRW) measurements from tree species with distinct ring boundaries were dated to develop ring-width chronologies. Second, stable carbon isotopes (?13C) were measured from whole-wood and alpha-cellulose of dated annual tree-rings. Finally, concentrations of more than 23 chemical elements were determined from individual dated tree-rings after dissolving the wooden material in HNO3.
The results showed the high potential of tropical tree species as climate archives, Bursera graveolens and Maclura tinctoria for the dry forest and Cedrela montana for the humid forest. Radial growth variations in tree species from the dry forest revealed a strong and reliable precipitation signal. Then, for these tropical regions, the first ring-width based wet-season precipitation reconstruction over the past century was developed, and spatial correlations unraveled a strong connection to the climatic conditions of the central Pacific precipitation and temperature variability. Interseries correlations of the TRW from the trees of the humid forest revealed a weak common signal. Stable carbon isotopes evidenced higher climate sensitivity than TRW measurements in the humid forest. However, to infer a reliable climate reconstruction from stable carbon isotopes, more ?13C time series were needed. ?13C values from whole-wood and alpha-cellulose reflected local and regional signals of precipitation and humidity. Meanwhile, nutrient concentration in the wood was higher in the dry forest, but common patterns and trends of nutrients were more distinct in the humid forest. For both study sites, two groups of nutrients with opposite radial distribution were identified (Group 1: Ca, Sr, Ba, Ga; and Group 2: K, P, Rb).
In conclusion, TRW of tree species from the dry forest have a high paleoclimate potential, especially to reconstruct precipitation amounts in arid zones of southern Ecuador. Stable carbon isotopes constitute a promising tool to perform climatic reconstructions in both ecosystems. Finally, the valuable historical information of nutrient concentration evidenced in tree-rings opens promising ways to study tree growth dynamics especially in the humid forest.
| precipitation | tree growth | Cedrela montana | ECSF | soil nutrients | tropical montane forest | Laipuna | isotopes | wood anatomy | dendroecology | el nino | la nina | ENSO | rainfall anomalies | mountain rainforest | environmental change | tree rings | dendrochronology | tropical trees | dry forest | element concentrations |
Literature type specific fields:
Degree: phd
Degree Institution: Institute of Geography, University Erlangen-Nürnberg
Total Pages: 100
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Achim Bräuning
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