PaleoEvent Data Standards for Dendrochronology Workshop

10.09 - 14.09.2017  
Woodland Park, USA
Contact person:
Elaine Sutherland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Workshop report: 
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The PaleoEvent Data Standards for Dendrochronology Workshop will be held in Woodland Park, USA, from 10-14 September 2017.


The meeting will be held at the Manitou Experimental Forest (MEF), Woodland Park, Colorado.

It is an open workshop, but restricted to 15 participants. The group will include scientists with diverse skills and interests. Board and lodging will be paid for all participants, with additional travel funding available to support early-career scientists and scientists from developing countries.

Timescales covered: Centuries to ca. 1 millennium.


Extreme environmental events cause loss of life, resources, and human infrastructure, e.g. storm winds, landslides, insect infestations, and wildfire. Risk analysis requires information about past frequency, intensity and spatial pattern of events. Tree rings reflect environmental events as changed growth patterns or anatomical anomalies at an annual- or even sub-annual resolution. These centuries-long times series of paleo-events are far longer than typical historical records. Techniques used in fire history analysis provide a context to analyze other paleo-events, for example, insect infestations(1).

Fire history data are stored in FHX(2) text files (and archived at NOAA) but that format has limitations: metadata is not mandatory or standardized, and only one attribute/year/sample can be recorded. Data in FHX format were previously analyzed in FHX2(2); but more recently in FHAES(3). FHAES uses the FHX format but also implements the TRiCYCLE dendro converter library(4) using the Tree Ring Data Standard (TRiDaS)(5).

The developers of FHAES(3) intend to create a data management framework for fire history data. That framework is easily extensible to all paleo-event data; here we propose to begin that effort, providing for robust metadata records(6) and basing it on TRiDaS(5).

Elaine Kennedy Sutherland (USDA Forest Service, RMRS) and Peter Brewer (U of Arizona, LTRR) will organize the workshop.

Workshop goals

We will begin a new data management framework applicable to all dendrochronological paleo-event data, providing for robust metadata records, and current with leading data management standards. The focus will be on data and metadata standards.

The data ontology development will be collaborative, using a crowd-curation approach with a focused international, interdisciplinary group. In the workshop we will conduct charrettes to develop 1) data standards, 2) metadata standards, and 3) a common terminology, i.e. controlled vocabularies.  

We will 4) outline workshop products, create timelines, and make writing assignments for products. Workshop results will be used to help guide the development of both TRiDaS and Linked Paleo Data (LiPD)(6). The PIs have discussed using it as a new paleo-event data archive with managers at the NOAA World Data Service for Paleoclimatology.

The proposed workshop links directly with the Integrative Activities component of PAGES’ science structure; the topic most specifically addresses the Extreme Events and Data Stewardship activities.

(1) DeSantis RD et al. 2013. Ag. For. Met. 178:120-128

(2) Grissino-Mayer HD. 2001. Tree-Ring Res. 57:115-124
(3) Brewer PW et al. 2016. Fire History Analysis and Exploration System, 2.0.2
(4) Brewer PW et al. 2011. Tree-Ring Res. 67:135-144
(5) Jansma E et al. 2010. Dendrochronologia 28:99-130
(6) Emile-Geay J et al. 2016. PAGES Magazine 24:47

Confirmed speakers

Dr Peter Brewer, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, USA
Dr Markus Stoffel, Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Switzerland
Dr Elaine Kennedy Sutherland, US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, USA


Registration/the call for interest is due 30 April 2017. Register here:

Further information

Contact workshop organizer Elaine Sutherland: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or access the event website: