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Age of Himalayan cedar outside its natural home in the Himalayas

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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 106, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2014 932
(Lakiapollis ovatus) of Bombacaceae,
Ctenolophona (Ctenolophonidites costa-
tus) of Ctenolophonaceae, Cryptopoly-
porites cryptus, Polycolpites spp. and
Polygalacidites indicates freshwater
swampy conditions at the time of deposi-
tion. The absence of marine microfossils
like dinoflagellate and foraminiferal lin-
ings in the lignite indicates deposition in
distinctly terrestrial setting. The preva-
lence of humid tropical climatic condi-
tions and heavy rainfall
21–23
is indicated
by the record of high frequency of fungal
remains, especially epiphyllous fungi
Microthyriaceae from the sediments as
well as amber.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We are thankful
to Prof. A. Sahni, Panjab University, Chandi-
garh for providing valuable suggestions. H.S.
thanks the Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of
Palaeobotany, Lucknow for field permission.
B.S. thanks the Head, PG Department of
Geology, RTMNU, Nagpur for support and
UGC-SAP-DRS-I for financial assistance. We
also thank Shri H. K . Joshi, General Manager
and the supporting staff at GMDC,
Tarkeshwar lignite mine, Gujarat for support
and cooperation during field investigation.
Received 16 September 2013; revised accep-
ted 5 February 2014
HUKAM SINGH
1
BANDANA SAMANT
2,
*
THIERRY ADATTE
3
HASSAN KHOZYEM
3
1
Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany,
53, University Road,
Lucknow 226 007, India
2
PG Department of Geology,
RTM Nagpur University,
Nagpur 440 001, India
3
Institut de Science de la Terre et de
l`Environment (ISTE),
Lausanne University, Switzerland
*For correspondence.
e-mail: bandanabhu@gmail.com
Age of Himalayan cedar outside its natural home in the Himalayas
The Himalayan cedar popularly known
as deodar (Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G.
Don) is endemic to Hindu Kush, Kara-
koram and western Himalaya. Natural
distribution of this species in the western
Himalaya is restricted to areas receiving
winter snow and summer monsoon rain-
fall. With the decreasing amount of win-
ter snowfall from northwest to eastern
part of the Himalaya, the deodar gradu-
ally disappears in natural forests. In sci-
entific studies, Garhwal is taken as the
natural eastern limit of Himalayan cedar
in the western Himalaya
1
. But, excep-
tions to this also exist in the literature as
indigenous forests of Himalayan cedar
were reported in 1924 in Karnali Valley,
West Nepal
2
. However, Bhattacharyya
et al.
3
while studying tree core samples
of Himalayan cedar from Giri Gaon
(2945N and 8210E), Nepal, could
establish only 265 years (AD 1714–1978)
chronology. Atkinson
4
mentioned that
there is no natural grove of Himalayan
cedar in Kumaon, and these could have
been first planted in temple complexes.
According to his estimates
4
, numerous
plantations of Himalayan cedar around
temples in Kumaon aggregate ~800
acres. Though Himalayan cedar is known
to grow over thousand years in the west-
ern Himalayan region
5
, the age of planta-
tion trees in sacred groves around
temples in Kumaon is not known. In
Hindu mythology Himalayan cedar for
its grandeur appearance is treated as
sacred and the most preferred tree to be
planted in temple complexes. Whether
the age of Himalayan cedar plantations is
contemporaneous with the construction
of temples is not precisely known. Popu-
lar belief indicates that Himalayan cedar
was first introduced in Jageshwar temple
area in Kumaon, where it has almost
naturalized with good regeneration.
Though these sacred groves of Himala-
yan cedar in Kumaon region are still
patchy, they play a crucial role in main-
taining good floral and faunal diversity.
The Jageshwar temple, dedicated to
Lord Shiva, was built ~9–13th century
AD and plantation of Himalayan cedar
trees could have commenced after that.
To ascertain the date of plantation of
Himalayan cedar around temple com-
plexes, we surveyed and collected incre-
ment core samples from old-looking
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 106, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2014 933
Himalayan cedar trees in Jageshwar and
Gangolihat, Kumaon region in May 2013
(Figure 1). We noticed several gigantic
Himalayan cedar trees attaining ~9 m
girth around Jageshwar temple complex
(Figure 2), the age of which could extend
to several centuries. We collected incre-
ment cores from trees at breast height of
boles (~1.4 m) from directions perpen-
dicular to the slope. Usually two cores
were collected from old-looking trees
from two opposite sides of the boles. The
increment core samples were processed
and growth ring sequences dated using
standard dendrochronological tech-
niques
6
. Very good coherence in growth
pattern of trees from both the sites as re-
vealed in COFECHA
7
(mean r = 0.62–
0.63) and TSAP
8
, and year-to-year simi-
larity in ring-width plots endorse the re-
liable dating of growth ring sequences.
We used established dendrochronologi-
cal procedures to develop tree-ring chro-
nologies
6
. The ring-width chronologies
of Himalayan cedar were prepared using
the program ARSTAN
9
. To select the
detrending method, ring-width measure-
ment plots of trees from different sites
were carefully studied. The ring-width
plots of tree samples from both the sites
revealed that the growth of Himalayan
cedar over the sampling sites is influ-
enced by stand dynamic features such as
changing competition due to gap forma-
tion. Therefore, to maximize the com-
mon signal among the samples, we
detrended the ring-width measurement
series using 100-yr cubic spline with a
50% frequency response function cut-
off
10
, except in few cases where 50-yr
spline was used. However, prior to
detrending the ring-width measurement
series were power-transformed to stabi-
lize variance in the heteroscedastic ring-
width measurement series
11
. The growth
trends were removed from the power-
transformed individual measurement
series by subtraction, which minimizes
the end fitting-type bias compared to the
ratios. In order to reduce the influence of
outliers, the detrended ring-width meas-
urement series of the respective tree
series were averaged to a mean chrono-
logy (standard) by computing the
biweight robust mean
9
. Another set of
chronologies was prepared where low-
order autocorrelation from detrended
series was removed using autoregressive
moving average (ARMA) modelling and
the resulting residual series averaged to a
mean site chronology by computing the
Figure 1. Location of tree-ring sampling sites in Kumaon Hima laya, Uttarakhand.
Figure 2. Jageshwar temple area with Himalayan cedar trees.
Figure 3. Tree-ring width chronologies of Himalayan cedar from Jageshwar (A D 1536–
2012)
and Gangolihat (AD 1668–2012) sites with the number of samples used in chronologies prepara-
tion.
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 106, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2014 934
Table 1. Chronology (standard) statistics of Himalayan cedar from two sites in Kumaon. Details of site locations are shown in Figure 1
Chronology with
Site Location Elevation (m) Core/tree SY EPS > 0.85 MI MS SD AR1
Gangolihat 2939N, 8001E 1760 38/27 1668 1720–2012 0.986 0.210 0.192 0.145
Jageshwar 2938N, 7951E 1851 41/37 1536 1690–2012 0.977 0.257 0.236 0.244
SY, Start year of the chronology; EPS, Expressed population signal; MI, Mean index; MS, Mean sensitivity; SD, Standard deviation; AR1, First-
order autocorrelation.
Figure 4. Correlation between the PC#1 of two site chronologies of Hima layan cedar and monthly precipitation as well as monthly mean
temperature of Mukteshwar (1901–1991). The dashed line represents 95% confidence level of correlations.
biweight robust mean
9
. The replication
of 12–15 tree samples in chronologies
from Jageshwar and Gangolihat respec-
tively, was found to be sufficient to
achieve expressed population signal
(EPS)
12
level of 0.85. The standard
version of two site chronologies along
with the number of samples used and sta-
tistics are shown in Figure 3 and Table 1
respectively. Significant correlation bet-
ween the above two site chronologies for
the common period 1720–2012 with EPS
level >0.85 (r = 0.75, P < 0.0001) sug-
gests common environmental forcing
affecting growth dynamics of trees over
the respective sites.
Dating of Himalayan cedar tree core
samples using dendrochronological
methods showed the oldest tree age of
477 years (AD 1536–2012) in Jageshwar.
Thus the age of the oldest tree recorded
by us extends back to the early 16th cen-
tury. Nonetheless, in Jageshwar forests
we also recorded several snag woods,
girth of which exceeded that of the sam-
pled trees (~9 m). This indicates that the
period of plantation of Himalayan cedar
around temple complexes could be even
earlier than the early 16th century. The
trees sampled from Gangolihat are rela-
tively younger to those in Jageshwar,
indicating that the plantation of Himala-
yan cedar could have started first in
Jageshwar temple area, which gradually
spread to other regions in Kumaon. The
ring-width chronology statistics such as
mean sensitivity (Table 1) and significant
correlation between two site chronolo-
gies is similar to other climate-responsive
Himalayan cedar chronologies developed
elsewhere in the western Himalayan
region
13–19
. To study the relationship be-
tween Himalayan cedar chronologies and
climate, we performed cross-correlation
analyses using climate data of Mukte-
shwar (2928N, 7938E, 2171 m amsl),
the longest available data close to tree-
ring sampling locations. The weather
data of Mukteshwar show that bulk of
precipitation (~73% of 1270 mm annual)
occurs during monsoon season spread
over June–September. The November–
May precipitation occurring largely due to
western disturbances is ~22% of the an-
nual precipitation. To understand tree
growth and climate relationship, climate
data spanning from September of the
previous growth year to current year
September were used in correlations with
the residual version of Himalayan cedar
chronologies. The chronologies from
both the sites showed similar relationship
with monthly climate variables. The first
principal component (PC#1) of two site
chronologies with eigen value 1.752
explaining 87.6% of the variance in com-
mon chronology period (AD 1720–2012)
showed the relationship with climate
variables (Figure 4) to be similar to that
observed with independent site chro-
nologies. In correlation analyses, the
precipitation from previous year Sep-
tember to current year May showed
direct relationship with tree growth indi-
ces. The correlations were consistently
positive and significant (P < 0.05) from
February to May. However, no significant
correlation was noted with precipitation
during monsoon months (June–September)
when precipitation is prevalent in the
region due to active southwest summer
monsoon. In case of temperature, nega-
tive relationship with mean monthly
temperature of Mukteshwar for most of
the months was noted, except during
summer monsoon months (July–
September), when it turned positive. The
correlation analyses revealed that a cool-
moist condition in premonsoon season is
important for the radial growth of Hima-
layan cedar in Kumaon region. We are
optimistic that such climate-responsive
chronologies developed from a close
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CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 106, NO. 7, 10 APRIL 2014 935
network of sites in the Kumaon region
would help in developing long-term
records of premonsoon precipitation. In
earlier studies, network of such ring-
width chronologies from the western
Himalayan region have been useful in
developing long-term robust climate
records
13–19
.
We have developed annually resolved
ring-width chronology of Himalayan
cedar from groves in Jageshwar and Gan-
golihat temple complexes in Kumaon.
The chronology from Jageshwar temple
area extends back to AD 1536, whereas
Gangolihat to AD 1668. The Himalayan
cedar forests earlier claimed to be natural
in Karnali Valley, Nepal are much
younger than those in the Kumaon re-
gion. The sensitivity of ring-width chro-
nologies to premonsoon precipitation
underscores the utility of tree-ring data
in developing long-term precipitation re-
cords for the data-scarce Kumaon region.
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and presentation for dendrochronology
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M., Climate Dyn., 2009, 33, 1149–1158.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. K.G.M. thanks the
Director, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeo-
botany, Lucknow for encouragement and
facilities.
Received 30 July 2013; revised accepted 26
February 2014
RAM R. YADAV
1
KRISHNA G. MISRA
1,
*
BAHADUR S. KOTLI A
2
NEHA UPRETI
2
1
Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany,
53 University Road,
Lucknow 226 007, India
2
Department of Geology,
Kumaon University,
Nainital 263 002, India
*For correspondence.
e-mail: kgmisrabsip@gmail.com
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We are reporting the first dendrochronological dating of timber from Tajikistan. Thirty samples were collected from two old buildings from a village located in the western Pamir-Alay; eight cores were taken from temple. Most of the construction wood was juniper species. The object chronologies crossdated well with the previously published chronology based on living juniper trees from western Pamir-Alay. The results of dating revealed that investigated structures are composed of wood coming from several periods. The oldest pieces of wood dated back to the 11th and 12th Centuries. Most timber samples come from the turn of the 17th and 18th Centuries, which were probably the period of intense development of the Artuch village. Besides dating of the wood samples from these historic structures, our investigation provides the opportunity to extend the currently existing regional tree-ring chronology for future climate reconstruction of the Pamir-Alay and High Asia. Dated sequences were assembled into a 1012-year chronology spanning the period 945–2014 C.E. and strengthened the replication of its earliest part (with critical 0.85 EPS value since the beginning of the 13th Century).
... This requires use of archives, e.g., speleothems and tree ring chronology which provide annual to decadal scale climatic changes. Very recently, however, some efforts in this direction have been made in the Central Himalaya (Kotlia et al., 2012Sanwal et al., 2013;Yadav et al., 2014aYadav et al., ,b, 2015Liang et al., 2015). ...
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Although the variations in δ18O and δ13C and the U/Th dating in the speleothems are considered as key proxies, improved dating with better quality resolution as well as composition of stalagmites and growth rate along with the cave monitoring are equally important for understanding the high resolution precipitation variability in the past. With a total of six dates on a 11.5 cm long stalagmite, we re-interpret the decadal to century scale climatic changes with multi-year droughts from the Indian Central Himalaya between ca. 1622 and 1950 AD. The sample is composed of aragonite (both compact sub-layers and porous sub-layers). Although, the age model of this young speleothem may be within age uncertainty owing to the high 230Th/232Th isotope ratios, yet the distinction of this study lies in recording various historical drought events which are otherwise never reported from the Himalayan foothills. Additionally, the sample consists of reasonable amount of U (>2 ppm), thus the age correction requirement may be minimum. The higher growth rate and comparatively lower values of δ18O and δ13C are observed during the Little Ice Age (LIA) until ca. 1820 AD, indicating its being wet in the Himalayan foothills in contrast to the Peninsular India and other regions which are solely influenced by the Indian Summer Monsoon (ISM). This is mainly because the monsoon trough moves from the plains to the Himalayan foothills during break-monsoon conditions and provides more orographic precipitation in form of the Westerlies in the south facing Himalayan slopes. The post-LIA period from ca. 1820 AD onwards is interpreted as comparatively drier than the LIA.
... A number of most recent studies on the stalagmite inferred climatic changes and reconstruction of precipitation using tree ring data (Yadav et al., 2014a(Yadav et al., ,b, 2015 in the Kumaun Himalaya have opened new opportunity to study the annual to decadal scale climatic changes during the Holocene. In addition, the sediment profiles from Ganga Plain have also been studied. ...
... The analyses performed to understand relationship between tree-ring chronologies and climate variables in association with the similar studies performed earlier ( Yadav et al., 2014a, b) suggest that the precipitation changes in premonsoon season are very important for the radial growth of Himalayan cedar trees over moisture stressed sites in the western Himalaya. In view of this we studied relationship between PC#1 of the residual chronologies of Himalayan cedar and SPI calculated for different timescales from one to nine months. ...
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We analysed 565 increment cores from 325 Himalayan cedar [Cedrus deodara (Roxb.) G. Don] trees growing at 13 moisture-stressed, widely distributed sites in the western Himalayan region. We found a strong positive relationship between our tree-ring width chronologies and spring precipitation which enabled us to reconstruct precipitation back to a.d. 1560. This reconstruction is so far the longest in this region. The calibration model explains 40% variance in the instrumental data (1953–1997). The most striking feature of the reconstruction is the unprecedented increase in precipitation during the late twentieth century relative to the past 438 years. Both wet and dry springs occurred during the Little Ice Age. A 10-year running mean showed that the driest period occurred in the seventeenth century while the wettest period occurred in the twentieth century. Spectral analysis of the reconstructed series indicated a dominant 2-year periodicity.
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In a number of areas of applied climatology, time series are either averaged to enhance a common underlying signal or combined to produce area averages. How well, then, does the average of a finite number (N) of time series represent the population average, and how well will a subset of series represent the N-series average. We have answered these questions by deriving formulas for 1) the correlation coefficient between the average of N time series and the average of n such series (where n is an arbitrary subset of N) and 2) the correlation between the N-series average and the population. We refer to these mean correlations as the subsammple signal strength (SSS) and the expressed population signal (EPS). They may be expressed in terms of the mean interseries correlation coefficient r-barm as SSS = (R-bar/sub n/,N)/sup 2/roughly-equaln(1+(N-1)r-bar)/N(1+(n+1)r-bar), EPS = (R-bar/sub N/)/sup 2/roughly-equalNr-bar/1+(N-1)r-bar. Similar formulas are given relating these mean correlations to the fractional common variance which arises as a parameter in analysis of variance. These results are applied to determine the increased uncertainty in a tree-ring chronology which results when the number of cores used to produce the chronology is reduced. Such uncertainty will accrue to any climate reconstruction equation that is calibrated using the most recent part of the chronology. The method presented can be used to define the useful length of tree-ring chronologies for climate reconstruction work.
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[1] The paucity of available instrumental climate records in cold and arid regions of the western Himalaya, India, hampers our understanding of the long-term variability of regional droughts, which seriously affect the agrarian economy of the region. Using ring width chronologies of Cedrus deodara and Pinus gerardiana together from a network of moisture-stressed sites, Palmer Drought Severity Index values for October–May back to 1310 A.D. were developed. The twentieth century features dominant decadal-scale pluvial phases (1981–1995, 1952–1968, and 1918–1934) as compared to the severe droughts in the early seventeenth century (1617–1640) as well as late fifteenth to early sixteenth (1491–1526) centuries. The drought anomalies are positively (negatively) associated with central Pacific (Indo-Pacific Warm Pool) sea surface temperature anomalies. However, non-stationarity in such relationships appears to be the major riddle in the predictability of long-term droughts much needed for the sustainable development of the ecologically sensitive region of the Himalayas.
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Spring precipitation, representative of regional-scale features, was reconstructed since A.D. 1731 using 15 site ring width chronologies of Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara (Roxb. ex Lambert) G. Don), prepared from distantly located moisture-stressed sites in the western Himalayan region. This is so far the strongest tree-ring-based precipitation reconstruction in terms of variance explained in the calibration model (A.D. 1897–1986) from the western Himalayan region. The twentieth century experienced the driest and wettest years in the whole reconstructed series. The 10- and 20-year means also indicate extreme precipitation periods in the twentieth century. The increasing precipitation trend noticed in the reconstructed data of the late twentieth century closely matches with instrumental data.
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Tree-ring anlaysis of Cedrus deodara from three different sites of western Himalaya has been carried out. The chronologies include 47 cores (26 trees) from Manali, 33 cores (18 trees) from Kufri (Shimla) and 25 cores (13 trees) from Kanasar forest sites. Moderately high values of common variance exhibited by all three chronologies indicate the great potential of the species for dendroclimatic studies.Response function and correlation analyses using the above tree-ring-width data and Shimla climate show a significant negative relationship with summer temperature and positive relationship with summer precipitation. Based on these results, calibration equations have been developed for different periods, and appropriately verified using independent data, to reconstruct the summer (March–April–May) temperature at Shimla. The reconstruction has extended the temperature record of the region back to the eighteenth century.
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We report here a 1198 -year long (AD 805-2002) ring- width chronology of Himalayan cedar (Cedrus deodara) from a site in Bhaironghati, Garhwal, Uttaranchal. This provides the longest record of ring -width chrono- logy prepared so far using living tree samples from the Himalayan region. The forest from which the con- stituent samples were derived is a natural stand of mixed age. Many of the trees are several centuries old, with average age reaching 532 years. The ring-width chronology shows strong indirect relationship with mean monthly temperature from February to May. Strong temperature signal present in the series shows the potential of such long-term chronologies in deve l- oping climatic reconstructions useful for evaluating the recent climatic changes under the background in- fluence of increasing concentration of greenhouse gases.