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Soil Base Saturation Combines with Beech Bark Disease to Influence Composition and Structure of Sugar Maple-Beech Forests in an Acid Rain-Impacted Region

Sugar maple, an abundant and highly valued tree species in eastern North America, has experienced decline from soil calcium (Ca) depletion by acidic deposition, while beech, which often coexists with sugar maple, has been afflicted with beech bark disease (BBD) over the same period. To investigate how variations in soil base saturation combine with effects of BBD in influencing stand composition and structure, measurements of soils, canopy, subcanopy, and seedlings were taken in 21 watersheds in the Adirondack region of NY (USA), where sugar maple and beech were the predominant canopy species and base saturation of the upper B horizon ranged from 4.4 to 67%.

Acid Rain and Sugar Maple Decline

Through the increased combustion of fossil fuels, humans have dramatically increased pollutant additions of sulfur and nitrogen into the atmosphere wher eit combines with water to form sulfuric and nitric acids, creating acid rain. This article investigates the impact of this issue on sugarbush health.

Differential impacts of calcium and aluminum treatments on sugar maple and American beech growth dynamics

Acid deposition induced losses of calcium (Ca) from northeastern forests have had negative effects on forest health for decades, including the mobilization of potentially phytotoxic aluminum (Al) from soils. To evaluate the impact of changes in Ca and Al availability on sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) growth and forest composition following a major ice storm in 1998, we measured xylem annual increment, foliar cation concentrations, American beech root sprouting, and tree mortality at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (Thornton, New Hampshire) in control plots and in plots amended with Ca or Al (treated plots) beginning in 1995.

Effects of Acidic Deposition and Soil Acidification on Sugar Maple Trees in the Adirondack Mountains, New York

High levels of atmospheric sulfur (S) and nitrogen (N) deposition have substantially damaged ecosystems in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Efforts to quantify damage have largely focused on aquatic effects2 However, limited recovery of surface water acid?base chemistry in response to large (>40%) decreases in S deposition over the past two to three decades has been attributed to depletion of soil calcium (Ca) and other base cations that may be ongoing despite declining acidic deposition. Availability of soil Ca has also been linked to changes in terrestrial faunal and vegetation communities in Adirondack hardwood forests.