AffiliationThe University of Auckland, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Auckland, New Zealand
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CitationFowler, A., Lorrey, A., Crossley, P. 2005. Seasonal growth characteristics of Kauri. Tree-Ring Research 61(1):3-19.
AbstractConsiderable research has occurred in recent years to build Agathis australis (D. Don) Lindley (kauri) tree-ring chronologies for paleoclimate applications and to identify statistical relationships between kauri tree rings and climate. This paper reports on a multi-year study of the seasonal growth of kauri, designed to assist in the interpretation of identified statistical relationships, and to determine if kauri’s seasonal growth characteristics are dependent on tree size. To achieve this, 43 kauri (0.09-2.00 m diameter) at Huapai Scientific Reserve were fitted with vernier bands to measure circumference change over 3-4 growing seasons. Absolute (mm) and relative (proportion of total ring) monthly growth rates were calculated for each tree and statistics characterizing the timing of growth were calculated (e.g. date corresponding to 50% of growth). Tree size-related differences were assessed by splitting the data into three subsets based on size, then comparing the monthly growth rates and growth timing statistics for the subsets. The growth timing statistics were also correlated with tree diameter. A key finding is the strong dominance of spring growth, with October and November alone accounting for 38-50% of the total ring width. This result is consistent across age cohorts, although the largest trees tended to peak in November, rather than October. This indicates that kauri tree rings are likely to have value in terms of reconstructing spring conditions; consistent with reported statistical relationships between kauri tree rings and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon. High inter-tree variance in growth rates characterized the results, but little of this variance was accounted for by tree size. Although relationships between tree size and growth characteristics were generally weak and inconsistent, they are considered sufficient to warrant a precautionary approach in the development of tree-ring chronologies for climate reconstruction purposes.