Many tropical species are not yet explored by dendrochronologists. Sal (Shorea robusta
Gaertn.) is an ecologically important and economically valuable tree species which grows in the southern plains and mid-hills of Nepalese Central Himalayas. Detailed knowledge of growth response of this species provides key information for the forest management. This paper aims to assess the dendroclimatic potential of Shorea robusta
and to understand climatic effects on its growth. A growth analysis was done by taking 60 stem disc samples that were cut 0.3 m above ground and represented different diameter classes (>10 cm to 50 cm). Samples were collected and analysed following standard dendrochronological procedures. The detailed wood anatomical analysis showed that the wood was diffuse-porous, with the distribution of vessels in the entire ring and growth rings mostly marked with gradual structural changes. The basal area increment (BAI) chronology suggested that the species shows a long-term positive growth trend, possibly favoured by the increasing temperature in the region. The growth-climate relationship indicated that a moist year, with high precipitation in spring (March–May, MAM) and summer (June–September, JJAS), as well as high temperature during winter (November–February) was beneficial for the growth of the species, especially in a young stand. A significant positive relationship was observed between the radial trees increment and the total rainfall in April and the average total rainfall from March to September. Similarly, a significant positive relationship between radial growth and an average temperature in winter (November–January) was noted.
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