Dendrology Definition and Meaning

In order to know the meaning of the term dendrology, it is necessary, in the first place, to discover its etymological origin. In this case we can state that it is a word that derives from Greek, specifically it is the result of the sum of two different parts:

-The noun “dendron”, which can be translated as “tree”.

-The term “lodge”, which is equivalent to “word” or “speech”.

The concept of dendrology is not part of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). Instead, dendrography does appear: the discipline that is responsible for describing trees.

You also have to know that the term as such was created in the 17th century. It was exactly in the year 1668 when it was shaped by the Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi who published a work under the title precisely “Dendrology”. This is a book where he came to establish a list of the names of the trees, their use, synonyms of those names, proverbs, curiosities…

Dendrology and dendrography are terms used interchangeably. It is a specialty of botany dedicated to the analysis of woody plants, especially those that are relevant to the economy.

Dendrology, therefore, studies the characteristics of the wood, the type of trunk growth, the anatomy of the specimens, etc. By describing the trunks, leaves, fruits and flowers, it allows the identification of the different species and the creation of groups according to characteristics.

Thanks to dendrology, it is possible to obtain multiple knowledge of tree species. That is why it is a very important discipline in the development of forestry activities.

Specifically, although we can establish that it is a fundamental branch for what forestry sciences are, we cannot ignore the fact that it is also very useful for any other activity that is related to the biological and agrarian field, for example, as well as with other levels that have some affinity with those.

For a professional in forest sciences, knowing the anatomical, ecological and morphological characteristics of trees is essential. The application of the knowledge of dendrology is necessary for the development of different productive activities. A dendrological survey, for example, can favor a distinction of the species that are useful or desirable in an environment, facilitating forest management.

Notably, a specialization of dendrology is dendrochronology. In this case, it is about investigating the history of a tree from its growth rings. Dendrochronology focuses on the growth patterns of these rings to generate data on physical, biological and even cultural processes.

Other interesting facts about dendrochronology are that, for example, it conceives of tree rings as environmental records and also that it is not necessary to fell or cut down trees in order to study their rings. Fortunately, there are several types of special drills that are used to obtain what are small portions of these rings without the need to cause them any type of damage.


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