TERRAPUB Geochemical Journal

Geochemical Journal, Vol. 48 (No. 4), pp. 371-378, 2014

Oxygen isotopes as a valuable tool for measuring annual growth in tropical trees that lack distinct annual rings

Chenxi Xu,1* Masaki Sano,1 Kei Yoshimura2 and Takeshi Nakatsuka1

1Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Motoyama, Kamigamo, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8047, Japan
2Atmospheres and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 277-8564, Japan

(Received January 7, 2014; Accepted April 9, 2014)

Abstract: Some trees from tropical areas lack visually detectable and consistent annual growth rings. As such, we have measured the radial variation of cellulose oxygen isotopes in trees that grow in seasonally dry forests of Northern Laos to explore the possibility if this method can be used for the identification of annual rings. One disk from a 7-year-old Styrax tonkinensis (S. tonkinensis) in plantation and two cores from two Ficus semicordata var. semicordata (F. semicordata) in forests were examined. High-resolution cellulose oxygen isotopes of S. tonkinensis and F. semicordata show clear cycles with amplitudes of 5‰and 9‰ respectively. To further test if the oxygen isotope cycles that we observed are annual or not, a tree ring cellulose oxygen isotope model is employed. Input data of the model are relative humidity and modeled precipitation δ18O. The modeling results independently support our detection of oxygen isotope annual cycles. Therefore, we conclude that tree ring cellulose oxygen isotopes have great potential to identify annual rings in tropical trees, which typically lack distinct annual rings in the context of seasonal climate.
Key words: tropical tree with non-distinct annual rings, cellulose oxygen isotopes, fractionation model, Styrax tonkinensis, Ficus semicordata var. semicordata

*Corresponding author E-mail: xuchenxi@gmail.com

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