The public-domain International Tree-Ring Data Bank (ITRDB) is an under-utilized dataset to improve existing estimates of global tree longevity. We used the longest continuous ring-width series of existing ITRDB collections as an index of maximum tree age for that species and site. Using a total of 3,689 collections, we obtained longevity estimates for 237 unique tree species, 157 conifers and 80 angiosperms, distributed all over the world. More than half of the species (167) were represented by no more than 10 collections, and a similar number of species (144) reached longevity greater than 300 years. Maximum tree ages exceeded 1,000 years for several species (22), all of them conifers, whereas angiosperm longevity peaked around 500 years. Given the current emphasis on identifying human-induced impacts on global systems, detailed analyses of ITRDB holdings provide one of the most reliable sources of information for tree longevity as an ecological trait.
- Biological database
- Methodology in biological sciences
- Plant Biology
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