Balouet J-C, Oudijk G, Smith K, Petrisor IG, Grudd H, Stocklassa B. 2007. Applied dendroecology and environmental forensics. Characterizing and age dating environmental releases: Fundamentals and case studies. Environ Foren 8(1):1–17.
Dendroecology, or the use of ring patterns to assess the age of trees and environmental factors controlling their growth, is a well-developed method in climatologic studies. This method holds great potential as a forensic tool for age dating, contamination assessment, and characterization of releases. Moreover, the method is independent of the physical presence of contamination at the time of sampling because it is focused on the effect rather than the cause. This review is one of the very few articles published to date exploring the forensic applicability of dendroecology. This article is organized in two parts: Part I describes the method principles and proposes a practical procedure for forensic applications; Part II exemplifies and validates the method through six case studies of successful forensic application (related to petroleum products and chlorinated solvent spills).