Tree rings record extreme events, even when they are missing. This presentation will explore recent research on new types of investigations of the tree-ring record. Ring production integrates environmental conditions with the condition of the individual tree and within the limits of the genetic program. Although rings are usually formed annually by trees in the temperate zone, rings may be missing or doubled for at least some of the length or circumference of the stem. Recent research worldwide integrates qualities of wood anatomy beyond simple ring width or density to environmental analysis, such as fire history. Research on the dating of missing or locally absent rings may be a powerful tool in identifying the interactions of extreme drought and high temperatures. The analysis of anatomical markers and missing rings poses some interesting challenges, both statistically and for concepts of tree growth and survival.
Dr. Kevin T. Smith began his research work in forest pathology in the USDA Forest Service lab of Dr. Alex Shigo in 1977. Since that time, Dr. Smith has investigated the role of stress, disease, and beneficial fungi on forest health and productivity. His personal research topics include the compartmentalization of infection in living trees, the wood decay process, and environmental signatures within the tree-ring record. He has published more than 120 research papers and educational articles. Dr. Smith has received national and international awards for excellence in research and science delivery.