Variation in Tree Ring Width in Relation to Storm Activity for Mid-Atlantic Barrier Island Populations of Pinus taeda

Stephen R. Johnson, Donald R. Young


Tree cores were collected from coastal populations of Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) on Hog and Parramore Islands of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Bodie Island (North Carolina) and at North Inlet (South Carolina) for a comparative analysis of growth ring width with storm occurrence. All four sites showed some association between ring width and occurrence of coastal tracking hurricanes and northeasters, with reduced width during the year of the storm or the following year. In addition, ring width increased with decreasing latitude, possibly indicating a relationship between ring width and length of growing season. The difference in variability around the mean ring width between the two Virginia barrier islands was in agreement with suggested differences in island stability. Although a clear relationship between ring width and storm occurrence was not evident, tree ring analysis may be a useful tool in the determination of storm impact on barrier island plant communities, of storm frequency over long time periods, and of differences in stability among barrier islands.


Dendroecology; hurricanes; winter storms; island stability

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