Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2019


The study of dendroclimatology uses tree growth responses to climate variables to reconstruct regional, national, and global chronologies from tree-rings (Speer, 2010). The species of focus was Q. macrocarpa (bur oak) located in Spring Creek Prairie because of its potential to hold a chronological history of environmental limitations and management practices in the area. The objective of this research is to: 1) determine the impact of available soil moisture on the annual growth of Q. macrocarpa in Wachiska Woods, 2) determine the effect of management practices on Q. macrocarpa annual growth in Wachiska Woods. Eight Q. macrocarpa specimens were identified; four specimens were selected in the unmaintained portion of the site and four specimens were selected in the thinned portion of the site. Measurements included diameter at breast height (DBH), crown spread, and height of tree and followed the protocols detailed in the Timber Cruising Handbook (FSH, 2012). General site characteristics were also recorded for each specimen. One increment core per tree was extracted then mounted, sanded and analyzed. The effects of available soil moisture on annual growth indicated mean basal area increment (BAI) is related to soil moisture, decreasing in drier years and increasing in wetter years. The mean DBH positively related to mean BAI and indicated that the trees sampled in the unmaintained site had greater values than the trees sampled in the thinned site when not accounting for age (Table 1; Figure 5). However, the model generated using linear regression accounts for age shows that trees sampled in the thinned site had a greater increase in annual BAI than trees in the unmaintained site (Table 2; Figure 6).