A review of flood records from tree rings

J. A. Ballesteros-Cánovas, M. Stoffel, S. St George, K. Hirschboeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Palaeohydrology is now recognized as a valuable approach to characterize the hazards posed by flooding. Tree rings have emerged as an important source of evidence for paleohydrological studies, and, since the 1960s, have been used to document the occurrence of past floods. In this progress report we outline the major contributions of tree-ring records to flood research. By reviewing the key advances in this field, documenting different research trajectories, and highlighting recent developments, we make an argument in favor of more extensive use of tree rings in flood analyses. We show how tree-ring data have been applied to risk assessment and outline how the widespread distribution of flood-affected trees can be used to improve the understanding of flood processes. In addition, we outline new approaches and future perspectives for the inclusion of woody vegetation in hazard assessments, and end with new thematic perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)794-816
Number of pages23
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • dendrogeomorphology
  • flash floods
  • floods
  • paleofloods
  • paleohydrology
  • tree rings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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