Dendroecology: a tool for evaluating variations in past and present forest environments
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Harold C. Fritts; Thomas W. Swetnam
Publication Year: 1989

Cataloging Information

  • age classes
  • arthropods
  • bibliographies
  • Choristoneura spp.
  • climatology
  • community ecology
  • computer program
  • coniferous forests
  • conifers
  • dendrochronology
  • dendroecology
  • diameter classes
  • disturbance
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • fire exclusion
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • forest types
  • insects
  • logging
  • mortality
  • mosaic
  • pine forests
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • plant communities
  • plant growth
  • plant species diversity
  • population density
  • population ecology
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • sampling
  • seasonal activities
  • seedlings
  • soils
  • statistical analysis
  • succession
  • surface fires
  • tree rings
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 20428
Tall Timbers Record Number: 5708
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Journals-A
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


This chapter reviews basis for some fundamental techniques, principles, and practices of dendroecology. Dendroecology refers to applications of dendrochronological techniques to problems in ecology. The important ecological problems for which dendroecological techniques are well suited include widespread outbreaks of herbivorous insects in forests, tree decline observed in forests of central and northern Europe and in some areas of the United States, and potential environmental changes brought about by the rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 and other gases. A variety of structural characteristics of tree rings, such as width, wood density, and vessel size exhibit variability from one ring to the next. The principles and practices of dendroecology—namely, uniformitarianism, limiting factors, crossdating, standardization, variance of the mean and the signal-to-noise ratio, sample replication, tree and site selection, calibration and verification, and modeling are essentially the fundamental framework for understanding the discipline of dendroecology. It is noted that these principles are not laws or rules of nature but are well-tested best inferences based upon known facts at a particular time.

Online Link(s):
Link to this document (4.6 MB; pdf)
Fritts, Harold C.; Swetnam, Thomas W. 1989. Dendroecology: a tool for evaluating variations in past and present forest environments. Advances in Ecological Research 19:111-188.