, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 17-27,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 25 Jul 2010

Evaluating the annual nature of juvenile rings in Bolivian tropical rainforest trees


Knowledge on juvenile tree growth is crucial to understand how trees reach the canopy in tropical forests. However, long-term data on juvenile tree growth are usually unavailable. Annual tree rings provide growth information for the entire life of trees and their analysis has become more popular in tropical forest regions over the past decades. Nonetheless, tree ring studies mainly deal with adult rings as the annual character of juvenile rings has been questioned. We evaluated whether juvenile tree rings can be used for three Bolivian rainforest species. First, we characterized the rings of juvenile and adult trees anatomically. We then evaluated the annual nature of tree rings by a combination of three indirect methods: evaluation of synchronous growth patterns in the tree- ring series, 14C bomb peak dating and correlations with rainfall. Our results indicate that rings of juvenile and adult trees are defined by similar ring-boundary elements. We built juvenile tree-ring chronologies and verified the ring age of several samples using 14C bomb peak dating. We found that ring width was correlated with rainfall in all species, but in different ways. In all, the chronology, rainfall correlations and 14C dating suggest that rings in our study species are formed annually.