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The Dendroecological Potential of Eucalyptus Camaldulensis Dehnhardt (River Red Gum) from the Barmah Forest, Victoria, Australia

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The study of tree rings has been used for over 100 years to inform climatic and geomorphological reconstructions. In mainland Australia, no tree species are currently recognised as providing reliable sources for such studies over extensive areas. Eucalyptus camaldulensis is a widely growing species with a growth pattern that is closely linked to high levels of available moisture, such as that associated with floods. The species therefore has the potential to provide palaeoclimatic information that may be of use in hydrological and geomorphological studies. This study initially examines the microstructure of samples of E. camaldulensis taken from the Barmah Forest to assess the applicability of the species to dendroecological investigation. It is found that samples of the species exhibit ring-like structures, although there are areas of the samples that contain zones of growth without clear ring boundaries. The patterns of growth rings and zones are found to be common to many trees at a site, although the level of variability of pattern from tree to tree is high. Options for future development of the approach described here are to combine ring studies with isotopic-based analysis to provide a combination of tree age and climatic history.

Keywords: Barmah Forest; Eucalyptus camaldulensis; dendroclimatology; dendroecology; palaeoclimate

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8470.2004.00245.x

Affiliations: The University of Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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