Ancient Trees Reveal Environmental Histories
Evidence from old-growth trees and ancient timbers recovered from homes and barns in the eastern U.S. and Hudson Valley region suggests that the climate and ecology of the previous four centuries may not have been as temperate as once thought. Using dendrochronology, or tree ring analysis, researchers at Lamont-Doherty now see that great droughts have sculpted current old-growth forests. Significant insight has been achieved through the use of certain trees, like the tulip poplar, which provide much longer records than previously thought. Though climate in this region is characteristically humid and temperate, research suggests that water availability is an important driver of forest dynamics.