The Swiss Federal Institute for Forest Snow and Landscape Research WSL

Methods of tree-ring research at WSL

Tree-ring research is more than ring counting. Many environmental factors such as insects, rockfall, fire, avalanches and wildlife affect tree growth and leave permanent imprints on the wood.

Since past climatic conditions are also reflected in tree rings, they are a unique high-resolution climate archive.

Trees from parts of the world where growth is primarily limited by a single climate factor – usually temperature - are particularly interesting for us. Over decades, we have collected thousands of wood samples from high altitudes and northern forest limits and measured the density of latewood. Our latewood data are used by researchers worldwide for climate reconstructions.