Advances in quantitative wood anatomy and radiocarbon dating to better assess climate sensitivity in the Andean Tropics
Tropical regions are generally characterized by dynamic ecosystems where the abundant availability of energy and resources allows for an almost constant growth of its flora, being xeric forests and flood plains some exceptions. Classical dendrochronology studies have been scarce in these areas as many tree species does not show well defined tree-ring boundaries. We present different study cases on how quantitative wood analysis and radiocarbon can complement classical dendrochronology increasing the number of tree species suitable for tree-ring analyses, plus new tree-ring parameters useful as paleoclimate proxies. We selected a broad set of species along several climatic zones in the mountainous regions of Bolivia: Prosopis alba and P. ferox from dry highlands, Amburana cearensis, Cedrela fisilis and C. odorata from dry tropical forest at medium altitudes, Juglans boliviana from mesic medium altitude forests and Polylepis pepei at treeline elevations. This wide range of tree species allow us to study different types of radial growth from a xylem architecture perspective and climate sensitivity, broadening the possibilities of finding suitable species for further climate research. Besides we also measured quantitatively several tree-ring parameters showing the potential to investigate intrannual dynamics of growth and seasonal environmental variations. Radiocarbon (14C) pulse dating was also used to guarantee the accuracy of calendar dates obtained with dendrochronological methods. To implement dendrochronology as a tool to identify how tropical forests respond to climate change, we need to complement approaches and technologies that will allow us to reveal the vast information still locked within tropical tree species.