pp 1–2 | Cite as

Editor’s highlight for TSAF D-17-00396: carbon and oxygen isotopes in tree rings—climate signals and microsite effects

Original Article


Key message

Isotopes are important proxies in tree rings but microsite differences are often not taken into account. Esper et al. (Trees 32:1–15, 2018) assessed microsite differences contributing to the understanding of local drivers.


Carbon and oxygen isotopes are important proxies in tree ring archives that allow the reconstruction of the past climate as well as to retrospectively assess tree responses towards climatic drivers Esper et al. (Trees 32:1–15, 2018, this issue) took into account potential microsite differences as they not only chose a strong latitudinal gradient in Sweden (Kiruna, north of the polar circle vs. Stockholm) but also collected at both locations tree rings from Pinus sylvestris that grew directly at a lakeshore and trees up to 30 m upslope.


Tree ring Isotope Local site conditions 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human participants and animal rights statement

The research did not involve animals or humans.


  1. Araguás-Araguás L, Froehlich K, Rozanski K (2000) Deuterium and oxygen-18 isotope composition of precipitation and atmospheric moisture. Hydrol Process 14:1341–1355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbour MM (2007) Stable oxygen isotope composition of plant tissue: a review. Funct Plant Biol 34:83–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Esper J, Holzkämper S, Büntgen U, Schöne B, Keppler F, Hartl C, St. George S, Riechelmann DF, Treydte K (2018) Site-specific climatic signals in stable isotope records from Swedish pine forests. Trees 32:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Farquhar GD, O’ Leary MH, Berry JA (1982) On the relationship between carbon isotope discrimination and the inter-cellular carbon-dioxide concentration in leaves. Aust J Plant Physiol 9:121–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gessler A, Ferrio JP, Hommel R, Treydte K, Werner RA, Monson RK (2014) Stable isotopes in tree rings: towards a mechanistic understanding of isotope fractionation and mixing processes from the leaves to the wood. Tree Physiol 34:796–818CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Helle G, Schleser G (2004) Beyond CO2-fixation by Rubisco—an interpretation of C-13/C-12 variations in tree rings from novel intra-seasonal studies on broad-leaf trees. Plant Cell Environ 27:367–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jansen K, Sohrt J, Kohnle U, Ensminger I, Gessler A (2013) Tree ring isotopic composition, radial increment and height growth reveal provenance-specific reactions of Douglas-fir towards environmental parameters. Trees Struct Funct 27:37–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kress A, Saurer M, Siegwolf RTW, Frank DC, Esper J, Bugmann H (2010) A 350 year drought reconstruction from Alpine tree ring stable isotopes. Global Biogeochem Cycles 24:GB2011. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Offermann C, Ferrio JP, Holst J, Grote R, Siegwolf R, Kayler Z, Gessler A (2011) The long way down-are carbon and oxygen isotope signals in the tree ring uncoupled from canopy physiological processes? Tree Physiol 31:1088–1102CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Song X, Farquhar GD, Gessler A, Barbour MM (2014) Turnover time of the non-structural carbohydrate pool influences δ18O of leaf cellulose. Plant Cell Environ 37:2500–2507CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Sternberg L, Ellsworth PFV (2011) Divergent biochemical fractionation, not convergent temperature, explains cellulose oxygen isotope enrichment across latitudes. PLoS One 6:e28040CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Tcherkez G, Ghashghaie J, Griffiths H (2007) Methods for improving the visualization and deconvolution of isotopic signals. Plant Cell Environment 30:887–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Treydte KS, Schleser GH, Helle G, Frank DC, Winiger M, Haug GH, Esper J (2006) The twentieth century was the wettest period in northern Pakistan over the past millennium. Nature 440:1179–1182CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest DynamicsSwiss Federal Research Institute WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Terrestrial EcosystemsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations