Tree rings are storehouse of information about the age of a tree and past climatic conditions, but analysing this information is a laborious process and needs high level of expertise. Now a group of Indian researchers has developed a simple and rapid system to analyse tree ring count and their width.
“The most important aspect of our work is to detect tree rings boundaries with processing of the high resolution image of tree disc,”
Making use of available image processing software and other analysis tools, researchers at the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, have developed a semi-automated and interactive platform for tree ring analysis. The platform will help scientists rapidly analyse tree rings for climatic and other research.
Tree rings are formed as a tree grows. New cells in tree are formed and they get arranged in the form of concentric circles known as annual growth rings in the trunk. These rings basically indicate the amount of wood added during one growing season. In summer, dark wood – known as latewood- is produced because growth is slow, while growth is fast in spring season producing light wood or earlywood.
Tree rings consist of alternate layers of light and dark wood in the cross-section of a tree trunk. One year of growth is represented by a ring consisting of a light ring and a dark ring, with older rings at the centre of the trunk. Width of a growth ring depends upon duration of growing season of the tree. By studying these rings scientists can not only predict age of a tree but also get important clues about past climatic conditions. For instance, tree rings have a greater contrast when a tree grows in an environment where climate is influenced by seasonal weather change.
The new platform involves measuring distance between ring boundaries. “The most important aspect of our work is to detect tree rings boundaries with processing of the high resolution image of tree disc,” researchers have explained in their study published in the latest issue of scientific journal Current Science. The research team included S. Subah and S. Derminder of the School of Electrical Engineering and Technology, and C. Sanjeev of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Punjab Agricultural University. (India Science Wire)