ABSTRACT

The use of tree-ring methods to study ecological processes, known as dendroecology, has been booming over the last decade. We believe that the incredible methodological strides in this subdiscipline over the last half century will be further advanced by purposefully integrating with other ecological subdisciplines and broadening the scope of dendroecology both in terms of methods and theory. Simultaneously, these efforts will greatly benefit a broad range of ecological disciplines through the incorporation of one of the greatest strengths of dendrochronology: highly-resolved ecological data that spans from seasons to centuries. Because these data are still alarmingly scarce in ecology but are crucial to understand the ecology of long-living organisms, we believe better integrating dendroecology and mainstream ecology will benefit both disciplines. We discuss five actions that can be readily embraced by the dendrochronological community to further advance the field while also making it more open for non-dendroecologists. These actions include: (i) promoting diverse or multi-discipline scientific collaborations and partnerships, (ii) diversifying dendroecological data sources, (iii) incorporating inference-based and hierarchical models to the dendroecological toolbox, (iv) improving and updating the global tree-ring databases, and (v) increasing the focus on ecological and evolutionary mechanisms in tree-ring-driven papers. We believe these actions will help facilitate a broad discussion on how to better integrate tree-ring-based ecology within mainstream ecology. We believe this has the potential to trigger major advancements in dendroecology, help resolve long-standing ecological questions and, ultimately, bring a new perspective and scale to ecological theory.

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