Xenia Davide: Effects of Temperature and Rainfall on Stem Growth in the Tropical Tree Species Toona ciliata

Maastricht University and Wageningen University

Tropical forests are essential to the regulation of climate and the global carbon cycle. They account for a third of global primary productivity, drive fluctuations in the terrestrial land sink, and thus have the potential to influence the pace of climate change. Multiple investigations revealed declining tree growth rates and forest productivity, making it increasingly important to comprehend how climate variability, particularly temperature and rainfall patterns, affects tropical trees. Both rainfall and maximum temperature have been found to be crucial factors in influencing stem growth. The predicted increase in climate change-related variability also increases the necessity of understanding tree growth responses. Despite their critical function, there is currently an absence of comprehensive understanding of tropical tree physiological and growth responses to climate variability.
With this project, I aim to bridge this gap by analysing samples of Toona ciliata, a tropical tree that was shown to make tree rings, with standard dendrochronological methodology. The samples were collected in multiple locations in the wet tropics world heritage, Queensland, Australia. By doing so, I want to provide new insights into the effects of climate on the growth and physiology of this species in the region.