Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • More than 10 students
  • 1 lecture unit
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English, German

Resource Description

Annual Growth Rings – An Environmental Archive(Resource ID: 120)

The factor of time plays an important role in sustainability. The annual growth rings of our trees offer the possibility to answer time-related questions, for example “When was the tree used in the construction of this building cut down?” It has been shown that in addition to the climate of the past, other environmental influences on trees can also be analyzed.

The goal of this building block is to communicate the possibilities that the dendrochronology method offers. This includes the age dating of wood, the relationship between growth and climate, and the possibility of retrospect (reconstruction). It enables the evaluation of climate developments and their effects on humans (agriculture, construction style etc.) but also perspectives for the future based on available scenarios.

This building block uses two “sliding boards”:

  • The first board shows the principle of age dating. An age dating trial with two wood samples can be conducted by sliding the board.
  • The second board shows the relationship between climate and the width of the annual growth rings (using an example from Marchfeld). Printed on the glass board are various climate parameters and average time spans. In this way it is possible to discover which parameter and time frame produce the best relationship.

Additionally, an approximately 90 minute long lecture has been put together, including PowerPoint slides and commentary.

Application during the course

The sliding glass boards can be used in connection to the lecture or independent of it. The boards explain the basic principles of dendrochronology and the relationship to climate (Lecture with Power-Point slides and accompanying commentary. Use of sliding glass boards to enable understanding of basic principles.)

Aha-effect for Students

  • Dating a piece of wood and its climate information

The boards are stored (and/or displayed) in the Institut für Holztechnologie und Nachwachsende Rohstoffe am UFT in Tulln. They can be borrowed upon arrangement.

Learning Outcomes
To understand the influence of a tree’s surroundings on its growth (and the generation of its annual growth rings), as well being able to interpret this information.
Relevance for Sustainability
Tree growth as a function of the environment; dating as basis for sustainability consideration; the climate of the past.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenfächer" (2011/12)

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Dipl.Ing. Dr. Michael Grabner


Michael Grabner
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Institute of Wood Technology and Renewable Materials


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • Measurement device