Tree ring research on conifers in the Alps
Dendroecology, dendroclimatology and climatic studies

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Tree-ring research on conifers in the French Alps

During last decades, many dendroecological and dendroclimatological studies have been carried out by our research team on coniferous species. 
Our laboratory, the "Centre d'Ecologie Alpine" is located in Grenoble, France (Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Alpins).
We investigated with dendroecological techniques several forests located in the French and Italian alpine mountains.
Our work deals with tree growth, climatic change, dendroecology (such as insect impact) and dendroclimatology.  

publication list

A detailed list of our publications is available here, with abstracts for most articles in different languages

see our
publication list  

  french   usa   english   german

Wood samples

This web site also shows pictures of many wood species.

  • See the photographies of 25 different wood species from Europe (radial, and tangential cut)
  • You can also see pictures of many wood samples of tropical tree species (from Africa, and Southern America) and from Northern America, Europe...

French index

French alphabetical index ( to select the wood species by french names)
acajou, aubépine, bouleau, charme, charme, chataignier, chêne, cyprès, épicéa, frêne, if, hêtre, mélèze, noyer, orme, padouk, palissandre, pin, platane, poirier, robinier, sapelli, sapin, sorbier, teck, tilleu, wengé...     et bien d'autres.

English index

English, German  and Scientific names (to chose a wood sample).
afrormosia, apple tree, aspen, avodire, balsa , beech, birch, cedar , cocobolo, douglas, ebony, fir, hawthorn, hornbeam, juniper, larch, lime, mahogany, mansonia, mapple, oak, pear, pine, poplar, rosewood , sequoia, spruce, teck, tulip wood, walnut, whitebeam, yew, zebrano.... and so on.

see the tree species list  

Studied species

The 6 main coniferous species (Table 1) growing in South Eastern French Alps have been investigated: 

Pinus uncinata Mill. ex Mirb.
Mountain Pine

Pin à crochets, Vercors

Pinus uncinata Vercors (Rolland 2003)
© Rolland

Picea abies(L.) Karst.
Norway Spruce

Epicéa commun, Savoie

Picea abies Cormet de Roseland (Rolland 2003)
© Rolland

Pinus sylvestrisL.
Scotch Pine

Pin sylvestre, Maurienne

Pinus sylvestris (Rolland 2003) Sardières Maurienne
© Rolland

Abies albaMill.
White Fir

Sapin pectiné

Abies alba (Sapin pectiné)

Pinus cembraL.
Stone Pine (Cembrian Pine)

Pin cembro, Maurienne


Pinus cembra (Rolland 2003) Maurienne
© Rolland

Larix deciduaMill.
European Larch

Mélèze d'Europe, Briançonnais


Larix decidua (Rolland 2003) Briançonnais
© Rolland

Sampling areas

Many sampled sites were compared in several alpine valleys, mainly located in the south eastern French Alps: Trièves, Vercors, Chartreuse, Oisans, Belledonne, Tarentaise, Briançonnais, Queyras , and Maurienne, or in the French Pyrennes.
Some other areas were also analysed in Italy:  the Susa valley (Bardoneccia), and the Trentino & Alto-Adige (South Tirol) region


Our main research subjects were:
1   Reconstruction of radial tree growth
We used tree-ring width measurements to compare species, and to analyse radial tree growth in various ecological conditions. Thus, the tree ecological requirements were obtained for several species.


Tree ring and climate relationships
The tree-ring and climate relationships of many species were investigated with classical dendroclimatological tools, such as the response functions, the correlation functions, the 'gleichlaufigkeit' method, and pointer years analysis. The densitometrical method (with X-rays) was also performed to find what climatic factors were significant during ring formation. 


Impact of insects and pathogens on tree growth
Growth reductions and tree dieback caused by some insect species were studied using ring-width analysis.

The European larch is periodically infested by larch bud moth caterpillars (Zeiraphera diniana Gn., Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), every 8 - 9 years. Intense tree defoliation during spring lead to a photosynthesis decline, and hence to a reduced radial growth. Therefore, larch extreme narrow rings permited us to date larch bud moth past ourbreaks. Consequences on tree growth were also measured.

The Norway spruce is infested by Dendroctonus micans Kug. (Coleoptera, Scolytidae) in the Ardèche region. The bark borer attacks lead to tree dieback and mortality. This phenomenon had also been studied with ring width measurements.

 Our research team

Our research team

Laboratory address

Dr. Christian ROLLAND 
Laboratoire Ecosystèmes Alpins 
Centre d'Ecologie Alpine 
Université Joseph Fourier 
BP 53 X 
F - 38 041 GRENOBLE Cedex (France)

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