Trees and shrubs constitute one of the most widely distributed terrestrial stores of environmental information. To date, dendrochronological exploitation of information stored in Australian plants has mostly relied on development and analysis of cross-dated ring-width chronologies or ring/growth zone counts. Thus far, however, ring-width chronologies have only been produced from sites in the relatively seasonal climates of southeastern and southwestern Australia and the far north. These chronologies have been developed almost exclusively for climatic analyses. Ring or growth zone counts have provided invaluable environmental information but can also be somewhat limited. We argue that evolution of a uniquely Australian dendrochronology will depend on innovative uses of information available from stable isotopes, wood property, elemental and wood anatomical analyses, and 14C dating. Interdisciplinary approaches with a lesser focus on stringent requirements of cross-dating and chronology development may also facilitate appropriate, and needed, methodological adaptation. Both high- and low-resolution records from across the Australian landscape can provide insights into challenges presented by the possible impacts of climate change and natural disasters across different environments and land management practices. They also have significant potential to contribute to multi-proxy reconstructions of Australian environments.
Australia, dendrochronology, palaeoecological material