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Title

Disentangling the impacts of exogenous disturbances on forest stands to assess multi-centennial tree-ring reconstructions of avalanche activity in the upper Goms Valley (Canton of Valais, Switzerland)

Authors
Favillier, Adrien
Corona, Christophe
Lopez Saez, Jérôme
Peiry, Jean-Luc
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Published in Quaternary Geochronology. 2017, vol. 42, p. 89-104
Abstract The purpose of dendrogeomorphic analyses is to amplify the signal related to the geomorphic process under investigation, and to minimize the noise induced by other signals in the tree-ring series. Yet, to date, no study accounts specifically for interferences induced by climate conditions or exogenous disturbances and which can, potentially, affect the quality of tree-ring based process reconstructions. In this paper, we develop a specific procedure allowing evaluation of the quality of reconstructions in five avalanche paths at Oberwald (Swiss Alps). The study is based on possible interferences between snow avalanches, climatic conditions and ecological signals in the tree-ring series. Analysis of past events was based on tree-ring series from 564 heavily affected, multi-centennial European larch trees (Larix decidua Mill.) growing near or next to the avalanche paths. A total of 2389 growth disturbances, such as scars, tangential rows of traumatic resin ducts, compression wood as well as abrupt growth suppressions or releases, were identified in the samples, indicating 43 destructive snow avalanches since AD 1780. At the same time, 31 potential events, which were detected with the conventional Shroder index value, were rejected from the final reconstruction due to potentially strong interferences between the different signals. This high rejection rate underlines the necessity to systematicallyeand carefullyediscriminate ecological and climatic noise from avalanche-related disturbances. This discrimination is even more so crucial as a significant proportion of dendrogeomorphic studies in the Alps are based on L. decidua trees which are cyclically affected by larch budmoth outbreaks.
Keywords snow avalanchetree rings
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FAVILLIER, Adrien et al. Disentangling the impacts of exogenous disturbances on forest stands to assess multi-centennial tree-ring reconstructions of avalanche activity in the upper Goms Valley (Canton of Valais, Switzerland). In: Quaternary Geochronology, 2017, vol. 42, p. 89-104. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:100147

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Deposited on : 2017-12-12

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