Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings
Dendrochronology, an imposing word, is defined as the scientific study of tree rings. At an early age, tree trunks provide young children with an exercise counting the rings. Later, the rings are a gratifying resource for studying human history and climatic change. Each ring represents a year’s growth, and the varying widths of the rings indicate the intensity of recent rainfall and the consequent rate of the tree’s growth. A wealth of information is broadly attributable to the impact of changes in the Earth’s orbit, solar radiation, and volcanic activity in the past.
This starting point can solve many questions. The study of tree rings supplies a clear answer, for example, to why buccaneers and pirates were so successful in the Atlantic Ocean between 1495 and 1825. Additionally, they demonstrate how volcanic activity led to the intermittent failure of the Nile’s annual flooding, which is understood to have caused seasons of starvation in Egypt during Ptolemaic times and thus to political consequences.
Valerie Trouet’s academic career has taken her across the world researching answers to such questions. Tree Story is the result of a sabbatical spent gathering the results of dendrochronological findings in regions as discrete as Tanzania and Easter Island, Siberia and the West Coast of the United States. The chapters spill over with information and would be overwhelming were it not for the book’s organization, the images and digital illustrations, and the author’s ability to share her scholarly adventures with such evident enjoyment.
|Page Count||256 pages|
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|Category||Science & Nature|