Apr 21, 2019 | Updated: 02:21 PM EDT

Tree Rings Show The Forest Thrives Despite Climate Change

Mar 26, 2019 07:42 AM EDT

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Tree Rings
(Photo : https://pixabay.com/photos/wood-tree-spruce-picea-conifer-3212803/)

TREE RINGS -- This isn't the first time people have heard about tree rings. In essence, the tree rings reveal the true age of a tree. In fact, the topic has been talked about so many times that the thought of reading all about it might be boring for some until they realize that these rings reveal so much more than everyone thought.

The beauty of these tree rings is beyond the physical exterior and contains a wealth of information that says a lot about how bountiful the environment is. It is not just about the years of survival that they seem to have mastered. Rather, it is about the absolute resiliency of these trees and the forests they thrive in.  

Today, the team of Neil Pederson, a senior ecologist at Harvard University is conducting his research in the Harvard Forest, a 4,000-acre site. They are looking at gaining a better understanding of how forests and trees, in particular, are taking all the impact of climate change. The carbon dynamics of the forest need to be greatly understood as they could be the primary reason why humans could survive the tragic change that comes with global warming.

In truth, this group spearheaded by Neil Pederson are on their way to understanding how trees are able to keep important data that has survived for decades and sometimes even centuries. No technology present today will be able to show information as far back as these tree rings, not even modern satellite technology or even carbon dioxide measurement models. Those could only go back to as far as thirty years.

"Tree rings could significantly enhance those records," Pederson said. "The recording from satellites could provide accurate reports, but it could only go far back. The tree can show not only information about its life, but it could also show how life in the forest has survived through time and despite the harsh effects of global warming."

Because climate is known to vary over time, scientists must reconsider the 'norm' that is created within a given region. While the satellites may be known to be good in covering a huge area like that of the forest, the information it provides are limited. 

Forests have played an important role in the process of "carbon sinking." It helps to absorb all the carbon dioxide present in the air because of the burning of fossil fuels. However, little is known about how much of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the trees. But these trees are helping people. They are giving them information as to how carbon dioxide emission past effects of climate change.

All their findings have been established in the journal of Nature Communications.

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