Dendrochronological potential of Millettia stuhlmannii in Mozambique
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This study demonstrates that Millettia stuhlmannii produces annual growth rings responsive to seasonal climate and should be useful for dendrochronology.
Millettia stuhlmannii is a highly valuable and potentially overexploited timber species indigenous to southeastern Africa. It is of particular economic importance in Mozambique though relatively little is known about its growth rate or response to climate. This study investigates whether M. stuhlmannii is potentially useful for dendrochronology—that is whether this species forms annual growth rings that are responsive to external forcing such as climate. Five methods were used to determine whether M. stuhlmannii growth rings are indeed annual in nature, including analysis of ring anatomy, dating trees of known age, cambial wounding, classical cross-dating, and comparison of annual growth to climate variables. Growth rings of Millettia stuhlmannii are distinct and well formed, young trees from plantations of known age formed an appropriate number of distinct annual rings, trees showed distinct wood reaction to cambial wounding, adding exactly one complete ring in one calendar year, cross-dating within and between trees was somewhat successful, and annual growth is significantly correlated with wet season precipitation. Results of this study indicate that M. stuhlmannii is a potentially useful species for dendrochronology. These findings should allow a better understanding of this species’ growth dynamics and ecology, as well as its response to climate variability in the past and potentially to future climate change.
KeywordsMillettia stuhlmannii Dendrochronology Annual growth rings Tropical forest Mozambique Panga-panga
Author contribution statement
I. Remane collected field samples, prepared and analyzed samples and data and wrote manuscript. M. Therrell collected field samples assisted with analysis and edited manuscript.
We thank TCT Dalmann LTD, J. White, R. Swap, M. Coates-Palgrave, M. Trotter, N. Ribeiro, and Eduardo Mondlane University. This research was supported by The University of Virginia Center for Regional Environmental Studies and the U.S. National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering (award #1160874), and the P2C2 Program (award #s 1003699, 1362823).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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