Sugar maple, Acer saccharum, decline disease is incited by multiple disturbance factors when imbalanced calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and manganese (Mn) act as predisposing stressors. Our objective in this study was to determine whether factors affecting sugar maple health also affect growth as estimated by basal area increment (BAI). We used 76 northern hardwood stands in northern Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, USA, and found that sugar maple growth was positively related to foliar concentrations of Ca and Mg and stand level estimates of sugar maple crown health during a high stress period from 1987 to 1996. Foliar nutrient threshold values for Ca, Mg, and Mn were used to analyze long-term BAI trends from 1937 to 1996. Significant (P <= 0.05) nutrient threshold-by-time interactions indicate changing growth in relation to nutrition during this period.
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Watershed budget studies at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), New Hampshire, USA, have demonstrated high calcium depletion of soil during the 20th century due, in part, to acid deposition. Over the past 25 years, tree growth (especially for sugar maple) has declined on the experimental watersheds at the HBEF. In October 1999, 0.85 Mg Ca/ha was added to Watershed 1 (W1) at the HBEF in the form of wollastonite (CaSiO3), a treatment that, by summer 2002, had raised the pH in the Oie horizon from 3.8 to 5.0 and, in the Oa horizon, from 3.9 to 4.2. We measured the response of sugar maple to the calcium fertilization treatment on W1.