Dendrochronological assessment of British veteran sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) trees: successful cross-matching, and cross-dating with British and French oak (Quercus) chronologies

Jarman, Rob ORCID: 0000-0002-3560-1266, Moir, Andy K, Webb, Julia C ORCID: 0000-0002-1652-965X, Chambers, Frank M ORCID: 0000-0002-0998-2093 and Russell, Karen (2018) Dendrochronological assessment of British veteran sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) trees: successful cross-matching, and cross-dating with British and French oak (Quercus) chronologies. Dendrochronologia, 51. pp. 10-21. doi:10.1016/j.dendro.2018.07.001

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Across Britain and continental Europe there are many ancient Castanea sativa trees of great significance for natural and cultural heritage, yet scant assessment has been made of them for dendrochronological information. This paper describes the dendrochronological analysis of 28 Castanea sativa trees (veteran historic trees, forest trees and coppice stems) sampled from 15 sites in southern Britain: 56 growth-ring sequences were collected for analysis, by boring living trees and by cutting transverse sections from dead fallen trees and previously cut stumps. Twenty-three single-tree sequences from 14 sites were cross-matched (t ≥3.5) and then cross-dated with 17 oak Quercus reference chronologies from England and northern France: a Castanea sativa master chronology spanning AD 1660–2014 has been created. The results demonstrate the viability of dendrochronological analysis of Castanea sativa wood; and confirm that Castanea sativa can be cross-dated with oak Quercus reference chronologies, inter-regionally and inter-nationally. The findings provide the potential means for dating Castanea sativa timbers sampled from palaeoenvironmental and historical contexts. The extraction of sawn sections from long-dead (up to 60 years in this study) trees and stumps is proven to be a reliable method for dating veteran trees in cultural landscapes and ancient woodlands; and for revealing the growth history of historic/iconic trees. The germination dates calculated for the Castanea sativa trees in this study span the period AD 1640–1943. The inaccuracy of estimating veteran Castanea sativa tree ages from girth measurements is highlighted.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sweet chestnut Casteana sativa; Oak Quercus robur/Q. petraea; Dendrochronology; Veteran trees; Cultural landscapes; REF2021
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QK Botany
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2018 14:28
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:58

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