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mistake in dating through the entire sequence of years, but if not correct the error is certainly very small.
IV. TOPOGRAPHY The late Professor W. R. Dudley of Stanford University in his charming essay on the “Vitality of the Sequoia” refers to the fact that the growth of the Big Trees depends in a measure on the presence of a brook near by. This agrees with my own observations. Size is far from a final indication of age. The General Grant tree which has no running water near it and is the largest in the Park of that name, has a burnt area on one side in which the outer rings are exposed, allowing an estimate of its average rate of recent growth. From much experience with the way the sequoia growth is influenced by age, it was possible to assign 2,500 years as the approximate time it took this giant to reach its present immense diameter of close to 30 feet. But about three miles west near a running brook is a stump which is over twenty-five feet in diameter, but is only about 1,500 years old. That is the effect of contact with an unfailing source of water.
Perhaps the most general characteristic which stands out in the different groups of dry-climate trees is a close relationship of this kind between the topography and the growth produced. For that reason, I have visited the site of every dry-climate group and indeed have examined the stumps of almost every tree in my collection.
It was found that dry-climate trees which grew in basins with a large and constant water supply, and this refers especially to the sequoias, usually produced rings without much change in size from year to year. This character of ring is called “complacent. The opposite character is the “sensitive” ring where a decided variation is shown from year to year. Sensitive trees grow on the higher elevations where the water supply is not reliable and the tree must depend almost entirely on the precipitation during each year. Such trees grow near the tops of ridges or are otherwise separated from any collection of water in the ground. In case of the basin trees, one could be sure that a ring was produced every year, but owing to the lack of individuality in the rings for certain years, it was difficult to compare trees together and produce reliable data. In case of the sensitive tree growing in the uplands there was so much individuality in the rings that nearly all of the trees could be dated with perfect reliability, but in extreme cases the omission of rings in a number of trees required special study. Of course, these cases were easily settled by comparison with other trees growing in intermediate localities.
Trees growing in the dry climate of Arizona at an altitude where they have the utmost difficulty in getting water to prolong life become extraordinarily sensitive. In the same tree one finds some rings several millimeters across and others microscopic in size or even absent.
In order to express this different quality in the trees a criterion called mean sensitivity is now under investigation. It may be defined as the difference between two successive rings divided by their mean.
Such quotients are averaged over each decade or other period desired and are believed to depend in part on the relative, response of the trees to climatic influences.
The great sensitiveness of the yellow pines as compared with the best sequoias is evident in any brief comparison of dated specimens.
V. INSTRUMENTS In the course of this long attention to the rings of trees and in studying such a vast number of them, special tools to secure material and to improve and hasten the results have very naturally been adopted or developed. One goes into the field well-armed, carrying a flooring saw with its curved edge for sawing half across the tops of stumps, a chisel for making numbers, numerous paper bags for holding fragments cut from individual trees, a recording note book, crayon, a shoulder bag, camera and especially a kindly, strong-armed friend to help in the sawing. In the last eighteen
. months the Swedish increment borer has been used extensively to get records from living pine trees. Hard woods and juniper are too tough. It has previously been considered that the little slender cores, smaller than a pencil, so obtained, would hardly be worth working on. But the method of mounting them has been raised to such a degree of efficiency, and the collection of material becomes so rapid that the deficient length and the occasional worthless specimen are counterbalanced. Besides, it is often easy to supplement a group of increment cores by some other form of specimen extending back to greater age. The Mount Lemmon group, near Tucson, has eight cores giving a good record from about 1725 to the present time; a saw cutting from a large stump in Summerhaven carries the record back 150 years earlier. It should, however, be supported by at least one more long record and this can be done by the tubular borer described next.
The tubular borer was designed especially for the dried and sometimes very hard logs in the prehistoric ruins. It works well on pine trees and junipers. It gives a core an inch in diameter, which means a far better chance of locating difficult rings than in. the increment borer cores which are only one fifth of that diameter. The borer is a one-inch steel tube with small saw-teeth on one
end and a projection at the other for holding in a common brace. A chain drill attachment is also provided to help in forcing the drill into the wood. The difficulty with this borer is the disposal of sawdust and the extraction of the core. For the former, a separate hole is bored with a common auger just below the core (if in an upright tree) and in advance of it to catch the sawdust. The core is broken off every three inches and pulled out to make more room for the sawdust. To extract the core a small steel rod is provided with a wedge at one end and a screw at the other. One- and two-foot tubes are carried so that it is possible to reach the centers of most pine trees. It would not be difficult to develop an instrument much more efficient than this and it should be done. Soon a borer will be needed to pass through a 35-foot tree or to sound the depths of the great Tule trees of southern Mexico.
The tools just mentioned are technical, yet in no sense complex. A measuring instrument has just been completed whose usefulness will be extensive and whose details of construction are too complex for present description. It is for measuring the width of rings. It makes a record as fast as one can set a micrometer thread on successive rings. The record is in the form of a plot drawn in ink to scale on coordinate paper so that the values can be read off from it at once for tabulation. This form of record was desired because individual plots have long been made to help in selecting the best trees and in studying their relation to topography. The instrument as constructed magnifies 20, 40 or 100 times, as desired. It can be attached to the end of an astronomical telescope and used as a recording micrometer capable of making a hundred or more settings before reading the values. It seems possible that it will have other applications than the ones here mentioned.
Another instrument of entirely different type has been devel. oped here since 1913. Its general principle has been published and will not be repeated, but in the last three years it has been entirely rebuilt in a more convenient form through the generosity of Mr. Clarence G. White of Redlands. This instrument is now known as the White Periodograph. It could be called a cycloscope or cyclograph. Its purpose is to detect cycles or periods in any plotted curve. It differs from previous instruments performing harmonic analysis in that it is designed primarily to untangle a complex mixture of fairly pronounced periods while others determine the constants of a series of harmonic components. For example, the periodograph can be applied to a series of rainfall records to find if there are any real periods operating in a confused mixture. It is also designed to get rid of personal equation and to get results quickly. The instrument as reconstructed is far more convenient and accurate in use and has already given important results. It enables one to see characteristics in tree growth variation which are not visible to the unaided eye. It is specially arranged now to give what I have called the differential pattern or cyclogram because this pattern not only tells the periods or cycles when properly read but shows the variations and interferences of cycles and possible alternative readings. Tests on the accuracy of solutions by this instrument show that its results correspond in precision to least square solutions.
VI. CORRELATIONS It is no surprise that variations in climate can be read in the growth rings of trees, for the tree ring itself is a climatic product. It is an effect of seasons. The geologists use the absence of rings in certain primitive trees as an indication that no seasons existed in certain early times. Whatever may have been the cause of that absence, we recognize that the ring is caused primarily by changes in temperature and moisture. Now if successive years were exactly alike, the rings would be all of the same size with some alteration with age and injury. But successive years are not alike and in that difference there may be some factor which appeals strongly to the tree. In northern Arizona, with its limited moisture and great freedom from pests and with no dense vegetable population, this controlling factor may reasonably be identified as the rainfall. If the trees have all the moisture they can use, as in north Europe about the Baltic Sea and other wet climates, we look for it in something else. It could be—I do not say that it is—some direct form of solar radiation. It could be some special combination of the ordinary weather elements with which we are familiar. Shreve has studied this phase in the Catalinas. If the abundance of moisture is so great as actually to drown the tree, then decrease in rainfall which lowers the water table below ground will be favorable. A fact often forgotten is that more than one factor may enter into the tree rings at the same time, for example, rainfall, temperature and length of growing season. These may be isolated in two ways. We may select a special region, as northern Arizona, where nature has standardized the conditions, leaving one of them, the rainfall, of especial importance. Or we may isolate certain relationships as in any other investigation, by using large numbers of observations, that is, many trees, and averaging them with respect to one or another characteristic. For example, I can determine the mean growth curve of the Vermont hemlocks and then compare it separately with rainfall and solar activity, and I may, and do, find a response to each. For that reason, I have felt quite justified in seeking first the correlation with moisture. A temperature correlation doubtless exists and in fact has been noted, but its less minute observance does not lessen the value of the rainfall relationship.
The first real result obtained in this study was in 1906 when it became apparent that a smoothed curve of tree growth in northern Arizona matched a smoothed curve of precipitation in southern California since 1860. That degree of correlation is now extensively used in the Forest Service. This was followed almost at once by noting a strikingly close agreement between the size of individual rings and the rainfall for the corresponding years since 1898, when the Flagstaff weather station was established. The more detailed comparison between rainfall and ring growth was made with Prescott trees in 1911. Some 67 trees in five groups within ten miles of Prescott were compared with the rainfall at Whipple Barracks and Prescott which had been kept on record since 1867. The result was very interesting. For most years the tree variations agree almost exactly with the rainfall but here and there is a year or two of disagreement. The cause of these variable years will sometime be an interesting matter of study. Taken altogether the accuracy of the tree as a rain-gauge was 70 per cent. But a little allowance for conservation of moisture raised the accuracy to 85 per cent., which is remarkably good. The actual character of this conservation is not evident. At first thought it might be persistence of moisture in the ground, but the character of the mathematical formula which evaluated it allowed a different interpretation, namely, that in a series of poor years the vital activity of the tree is lessened. During the dry period from about 1870 to 1905 or so, the trees responded each year to the fluctuations in rainfall but with less and less spirit. This lessening activity took place at a certain rate which the meteorologists call the "accumulated moisture" curve. This suggested that the conservation was in the tree itself. There is much to be done in this comparison between tree growth and rainfall, but the obstacle everywhere is the lack of rainfall records near the trees and over adequate periods of time. The five Prescott groups showed that in a mountainous country nearness was very important. But the nearest records to the sequoias are 65 miles away and at 5,000 feet lower elevation. The best comparison records for the Oregon Douglas spruce are 25 miles away. It is so nearly everywhere. The real tests must be made with records nearby.
In 1912 while attempting to test this relationship of tree growth to rainfall in north Europe, I found that the Scotch pines south of the Baltic Sea showed a very strong and beautiful rhythm matching exactly the sunspot cycle as far back as the trees ex