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.
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The allocation of nonstructural carbon (NSC) to growth, metabolism and storage remains poorly understood, but is critical for the prediction of stress tolerance and mortality. We used the radiocarbon (14C) Ôbomb spikeÕ as a tracer of substrate and age of carbon in stemwood NSC, CO2 emitted by stems, tree ring cellulose and stump sprouts regenerated followingharvesting in mature red maple trees. We addressed the following questions: which factors influence the age of stemwood NSC?; to what extent is stored vs new NSC used for metabolism and growth?; and, is older, stored NSC available for use?
We compared tree growth and crown condition with soil and foliar elemental composition in 14 sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) stands in VT, USA, to evaluate if deficiencies or imbalances in cation nutrition were associated with growth and health reductions in native stands. The Till Source Model (TSM) was used to select study sites potentially high or low in calcium (Ca) by predicting the relative Ca concentration of soil parent material derived from glacial till. The TSM successfully identified high or low levels of soil Ca (P = 0.031) and foliar Ca (P = 0.011) among stands.
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.
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.
Due to projected increases in winter air temperatures in the northeastern USA over the next 100 years, the snowpack is expected to decrease in depth and duration, thereby increasing soil exposure to freezing air temperatures. To evaluate the potential physiological responses of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) to a reduced snowpack, we measured root injury, foliar cation and carbohydrate concentrations, woody shoot carbohydrate levels, and terminal woody shoot lengths of trees in a snow manipulation experiment in New Hampshire, USA. Snow was removed from treatment plots for the first 6 weeks of winter for two consecutive years, resulting in lower soil temperatures to a depth of 50 cm for both winters compared to reference plots with an undisturbed snowpack.
We surveyed and wounded forest-grown sugar maple (Acer sacchamm Marsh.) trees in a long-term, replicated Ca manipulation study at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire, USA. Plots received applications of Ca (to boost Ca availability above depleted ambient levels) or A1 (to compete with Ca uptake and further reduce Ca availability). We found significantly greater total foliar and membrane-associated Ca in foliage of trees in plots fertilized with Ca when compared with trees from Al-addition and control plots (P = 0.005).
Recent technological advancements have increased the amount of sugar-enriched sap that can be extracted from sugar maple (Acer saccharum). This pilot study quantified overall sugar removal and the impacts of vacuum (60 cm Hg) and gravity sap extraction on residual nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations and on stem and twig growth.
Nonstructural carbohydrate reserves support tree metabolism and growth when current photosynthates are insufficient, offering resilience in times of stress. We monitored stemwood nonstructural carbohydrate (starch and sugars) concentrations of the dominant tree species at three sites in the northeastern United States. We estimated the mean age of the starch and sugars in a subset of trees using the radiocarbon (14C) bomb spike. With these data, we then tested different carbon (C) allocation schemes in a process-based model of forest C cycling.
This study compared 141 ecologically relevant climate metrics to field assessments of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) canopy condition across Vermont, USA from 1988 to 2012. After removing the influence of disturbance events during this time period to isolate the impact of climate, we identified five climate metrics that were significantly related to sugar maple crown condition. While three of these are monthly summary metrics commonly used in climate analyses (minimum April, August and October temperatures), two are novel metrics designed to capture extreme climate events (periods of unusual warmth in January and August). The proportion of climate-driven variability in canopy condition is comparable to the proportion accounted for by defoliating pests and other disturbance events.