Calcium and aluminum impacts on sugar maple physiology in a northern hardwood forest

Forests of northeastern North America have been exposed to anthropogenic acidic inputs for decades, resulting in altered cation relations and disruptions to associated physiological processes in multiple tree species, including sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.). In the current study, the impacts of calcium (Ca) and aluminum (Al) additions on mature sugar maple physiology were evaluated at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (Thornton, NH, USA) to assess remediation (Ca addition) or exacerbation (Al addition) of current acidified conditions. Fine root cation concentrations and membrane integrity, carbon (C) allocation, foliar cation concentrations and antioxidant activity, foliar response to a spring freezing event and reproductive ability (flowering, seed quantity, filled seed and seed germination) were evaluated for dominant sugar maple trees in a replicated plot study.

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