Evaluating the robustness of three ring-width measurement methods for growth release reconstruction

Sybryn L. Maes, Astrid Vannoppen, Jan Altman, Jan Van den Bulcke, Guillaume Decocq, Tom De Mil, Leen Depauw, Dries Landuyt, Michael P. Perring, Joris Van Acker, Margot Vanhellemont, Kris Verheyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Growth release analysis on tree rings can be used to validate forest disturbances from the known past or reconstruct those beyond the time line or resolution of documentary evidence. Differences in ring-width measurements may result in incorrect disturbance reconstruction. Yet, little is known about how growth release detection is influenced by the ring-width measurement method. Methodological comparisons mostly do not take into account the ultimate objective of the measurements nor their practicalities, such as time consumption or sample preparation. We assessed differences in ring-width measurements between three methods (Lintab, measuRing, and DHXCT), in a ring-porous (Quercus robur) and diffuse-porous (Fagus sylvatica) species, and evaluated whether detection of growth releases was consistent among methods We also comprehensively compared the methods, including quantitative and qualitative criteria. Growth releases were consistent among methods despite small, but significant differences in ring-width values. The apparent robustness of the methods suggests that they may be substitutable in future growth release studies, although the highlighted drawbacks and necessary improvements may advocate combined approaches. Furthermore, we propose an evaluation framework for quantitative and qualitative methodological decision-making and advocate the need for similar methodological comparisons within other fields of dendrochronology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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