No Significant Increase In Tree Mortality Following Coring In A Temperate Hardwood Forest

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Authors Ryan Helcoski; Alan J. Tepley; Jennifer C. McGarvey; Erika Gonzalez-Akre; Victoria Meakem; Jonathan R. Thompson; Kristina J. Anderson-Teixeira
Journal/Conference Name Tree-Ring Research
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The collection of tree-ring data from living trees is widespread and highly valuable in ecological and dendro-climatological research, yet there is concern that coring injures trees, potentially contributing to mortality. Unlike resinous conifers that can quickly compartmentalize wounds, less decay-resistant angiosperms may face more pronounced risk of injury from coring. To test if coring increases mortality rates in temperate hardwood trees, we leverage a unique dataset tracking the mortality of cored and uncored hardwood trees representing 19 species from 10 genera in a 26-ha plot in Virginia, USA. We compare mortality rates between 935 cored trees and 8605 uncored trees for seven years following coring. Annual mortality rates did not differ between cored trees (1.71% yr–1; 95% CI 1.40 to 2.20) and uncored trees (1.85% yr–1; 95% CI 1.70 to 2.28) across the full dataset, nor were there differences by genus or size class. These results indicate that the risk of hardwood mortality caused by increment coring is probably lower than previously assumed. However, these results cannot rule out the possibility that coring elevates hardwood mortality in other climates or when trees face multiple additional stressors that were not influential over the course of our study.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R
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