Tree-Ring Formation, Radial Increment Periodicity, and Phenology of Tree Species from a Seasonal Semi-Deciduous Forest in Southeast Brazil

in IAWA Journal
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Many tropical tree species produce growth rings in response to seasonal environmental factors that influence the activity of the vascular cambium. We applied the following methods to analyze the annual nature of treering formation of 24 tree species from a seasonal semi-deciduous forest of southeast Brazil: describing wood anatomy and phenology, counting tree rings after cambium markings, and using permanent dendrometer bands. After 7 years of systematic observations and measurements, we found the following: the trees lost their leaves during the dry season and grew new leaves at the end of the same season; trunk increment dynamics corresponded to seasonal changes in precipitation, with higher increment (active period) during the rainy season (October–April) and lower increment (dormant period) during the dry season (May–September); the number of tree rings formed after injuries to the cambium coincided with the number of years since the extraction of the wood samples. As a result of these observations, it was concluded that most study trees formed one growth ring per year. This suggests that tree species from the seasonal semi-deciduous forests of Brazil have an annual cycle of wood formation. Therefore, these trees have potential for use in future studies of tree age and radial growth rates, as well as to infer ecological and regional climatic conditions. These future studies can provide important information for the management and conservation of these endangered forests.

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