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Unambiguous and low-cost determination of growth rates and ages of tropical trees and palms

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons62561

Sierra,  Carlos
Quantitative Ecosystem Ecology, Dr. C. Sierra, Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. S. E. Trumbore, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

del Valle, J. I., Guarín, J. R., & Sierra, C. (2014). Unambiguous and low-cost determination of growth rates and ages of tropical trees and palms. Radiocarbon, 56(1), 39-52. doi:10.2458/56.16486.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-1B77-A
Abstract
The determination of the age of tropical trees and palms is of significant importance for ecological studies and designing sustainable forest management plans. Radiocarbon is a powerful tool that can potentially help the determination of ages and growth rates of these organisms. However, the application of radiocarbon analyses has one important problem for trees without annual rings and palms: the calibration of radiocarbon measurements with common programs such as Calibomb or OxCal gives erroneous determinations for wood formed before 1964 AD. We illustrate here this problem using samples from a tropical tree (Otoba gracilipes) and a tropical palm (Oenocarpus bataua). We show how the use of two adjacent samples can help to unambiguously determine the real age of the samples and their mean growth rates. For comparison, we used long-term growth measurements for both species and conclude that radiocarbon analyses provide accurate determination of growth rates for trees and palms. Furthermore, the application of radiocarbon analyses in palms allows the determination of the rosette-stage in palms, a stage rarely quantified in forest inventories.