Short communication: Many missing rings in old Canary pines can be related with age, fires and traditional uses

Mar Génova, Carlos Santana, Begoña Martínez


Aim and area of study: In the present paper we estimated the age of four monumental Pinus canariensis of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain) by means of tree-ring analysis. Many tree-ring series have been accurately studied and many missing rings have been determined.

Material and methods: The trees were dead and the samples analysed were big disks. We measured numerous radii and crossdated the individual tree-ring series, paying particular attention to the existence and location of missing rings. We have distinguished between missing outer rings (MORs) and missing inner rings (MIRs) and analysed the possible causes of both.

Main results: We determined an average of 8.8% total missing rings (MRs) for these long-lived trees, with a maximum of 96 MRs in a series of over 500. We have tried to establish a tree-ring chronology on Gran Canaria Island, also having the tree-ring series from Inagua site, but the long individual tree-ring series analysed do not crossdate between them.

Research highlights: We consider the Canary pine a species hard to conducting dendroecological studies, especially if the samples come from managed old trees, in which a large amount of known and potentially unknown missing rings can hampered dating. Even knowing the difficulties involved in dendrochronological analyses of P. canariensis, we can confirm that it is a long-lived species, which can grow to over 500 years, and some of whose growth changes could be associated with certain historical and ecological events.


dendrochronology; Canary Islands; Spain; growth changes

Full Text:



Climent J, Gil L, Pardos J, 1998. Xylem anatomical traits related to resinous heartwood formation in Pinus canariensis Sm. Trees 12: 139-145.

Domínguez S, Martínez E, 2005. Árboles, leyendas vivas. SDL SL., Madrid.

Génova M, 2010. Estimación mediante técnicas dendrocronológicas de la edad del pino canario localizado en el Término Municipal de San Juan de la Rambla (Tenerife). Ayuntamiento de San Juan de la Rambla (Tenerife), Technical Report.

Génova M, Santana C, 2006. Crecimiento y longevidad en el pino canario (Pinus canariensis Smith.). Invest Agr: Sist Recur For 15: 296-307.

Génova M, Máyer P, Ballesteros-Cánovas J, Rubiales JM, Saz MA, Díez-Herrero A, 2015. Multidisciplinary study of flash floods in the Caldera de Taburiente National Park (Canary Islands, Spain). Catena 131: 22-34.

González Navarro J, 2005. Los oficios del bosque. Una visión antropológica del aprovechamiento forestal en Gran Canaria en la primera mitad del siglo XIX. FEDAC, Las Palmas.

Grissino-Mayer HD, 2001. Evaluating crossdating accuracy: A manual and tutorial for the computer program COFECHA. Tree-Ring Res 57(2): 205-221.

Jonsson S, Gunnarson B, Criado C, 2002. Drought is the major limiting factor for tree-ring growth of high-altitude Canary Island pines on Tenerife. Geogr Ann A 84: 51-71.

Miranda JC, Nanos N, Gil L, 2013. Dinámica de la recuperación de una masa de pino canario (Pinus canariensis) tras una erupción volcánica. Proc. VI Congreso Forestal Español, 6CFE01-043.

Rinn F, 2003. TSAPWin, time series analysis and presentation for dendrochronology and related applications, version 0.53, user reference. Heidelberg.

Rozas V, Pérez-de-Lis G, García-González I, Arévalo JR, 2011. Contrasting effects of wildfire and climate on radial growth of Pinus canariensis on windward and leeward slopes on Tenerife, Canary Islands. Trees 25 (5): 895-905.

DOI: 10.5424/fs/2017262-10253