Impacts On Sugar Maple Growth

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Transcript Impacts On Sugar Maple Growth

Norway Maple Invasion
Across the world invasive species are affecting plant and animal
habitats. Plants that spread after they are brought into an area can
become problems, changing the landscape and disturbing or reducing
the amount of native populations. One kind of invasive species is the
Norway Maple, also known as Acer platanoides. It has been causing
problems for many native species, including the Sugar Maple.
According to the University of Michigan, if nothing is done regarding
the invasion of the Norway Maple in years to come there will be
strong homogenizing of the Maples in forests across the United
States. As a result this would lead to more plant extinctions, such as
Sugar Maples, and the decrease in maple syrup production.
Norway maples change the forest environment by altering the amount
of light that enters the canopy, the composition of the soil, and the
distribution and number of seedlings.
The Norway Maple’s canopy can reach up to 70 feet when the tree is
in adulthood. The Norway Maple’s canopy is also very dense, causing
the ground below to not receive much sunlight. The problem with this
is that the tree will give everything below a lot of shade. The lack of
sunlight may cause difficulty for Sugar Maple seedlings, and it sets a
clear path for the Norway Maple seedlings to grow because they can
tolerate shady conditions. In a study done by Wyckoff in 1996 it
showed that 83% of seedlings found under canopies were from
Norway Maples. Also, according to the Reinhart study in 2005, where
there are more Norway Maple canopies there is less native species
diversity and open sky. In areas without Norway Maple canopies there
were more diversities of plant life.
Norway Maple
By: Corinne Gaccione, Thomas Lattarulo, Semyon Fedotov, and Alec Miller
With the help of their parent tree, the
seedlings are able to grow without any
difficulty. The tree provides shade, perfect
living conditions for the seedlings, and
without sunlight other plants can’t live so the
competition for nutrients is eliminated.
According to a study done by Munger in 2003
Norway Maple saplings displayed an average
annual height growth increment that was
nearly twice that of nearby Sugar Maple and
significantly higher rates of instantaneous
water use efficiency than Sugar Maple
saplings at the same site. These facts show
that the Norway Maple has a higher
tolerance of extreme conditions than the
Sugar Maple, then causing the Sugar Maple
to be pushed from certain parts of the forest.
Or, another way that many trees die is when the
road salt sprays from roadways onto the physical
trees, this causes the effects of browning of the
leaves, which we are currently seeing in many
roadside maple’s and in some cases, limb loss,
which will escalate into entire trunk death.
Acid Rain
Sugar Maple
Also there is no accurate measurement of the decline of the
trees but, in the past 25 years the average height has
decreased by 25 percent, and the general bulk of the trees
has nearly declined by 50 percent.
Weather and Climate
Weather and climate have negatively affected maple syrup
production in the past years. As said in an article I read, the
2005 and 2007 maple syrup productions were really low. The
basal area is the diameter of the tree’s base. The best
conditions for sugaring are just below freezing, which are in
the upper 40s. The total production of maple syrup in New
England was 1,237,000 and 61% was Vermont (New
England Agricultural Statistics). The graph below shows the
New England maple syrup production last year and the
United States maple syrup production.
Road Salts
Research done by Munger in 2003 shows that the Norway Maple
grows very well in cool, moist, shaded environments, whereas other
species (the Sugar Maple) may not grow well. With the lack of
sunlight from the Norway Maple’s canopies, it also creates a lack of
richness in the soil. Studies have also shown that the Norway Maple’s
foliage produces an anti-fungal chemical that changes the
composition of soil. The chemical alters the decomposer fungi that
favors the growth of the Norway Maple as well as disturbing other
All the factors (canopy and soil) come together and make it easier for
the seedlings of the Norway Maple to grow and thrive. Studies by
Wangen in 2006 show that the seeds establish within the seed
shadows of parent trees. Also, research done by Michigan University
showed that 99% of the Norway Maple seeds typically fall within
approximately 50 meters of the parent tree.
Many studies have correlated the negative
effects with road salt on street side trees,
especially effecting the Sugar Maple.
Many environmentalists predict that in the
future, these salts will kill the roadside
maples that are already experiencing the
effects of the salt. The beginning signs of
the road salts impact on trees and plants,
are browning of the leaves, wilting of the
leaves, leaf loss, and eventually entire
limb loss. After this comes total death to
the tree, at the point where it can no
longer support any of its own, selfsustained life, having its photosynthesis
cycle come to an end.
How Does Road Salt Kill Trees?
The calcium chloride in road salt is
naturally found in soil, however, in much
smaller quantities. The calcium chloride is
an active agent in trees development
stages, regulating the nutrient uptake, and
availability of nutrients in the trees general
area of uptake. This natural event occurs
in all trees, however, when human impact
interferes with the normal amounts of
CaCl2, and large amounts of calcium
chloride become in exposure to the trees,
it becomes quite harmful. In large amounts
of calcium chloride, the trees begin to die
this is because the excess calcium
chloride from the roads, that takes the
place of other essential nutrients for the
growth of trees, and therefore limits its
ability to grow, and eventually causes the
tree to die due to malnourishment.
Because of the burning of fossil fuels, driving
cars, and running factories an increase of acid
rain has affected the soil and decreased the
amount of Sugar Maple trees in the northeast
United States. Acid rain has caused more
acidic soil, fewer seedlings sprout and mature,
and more adult trees to die. The long term
effect of human activity has caused an increase
of acid rain and a decrease in sugar maples.
The first symptoms usually are premature
yellowing and reddening of leaves. Sugar
maples ideally grow in calcium rich soils which
is being decreased from acid rain. Also new
seedlings cannot sprout due to a buildup of
fallen maple leaves on the ground. Extra
nitrogen from the acid rain increased leaf litter
by up to 50%. Among all the trees, the ones in
higher elevations, like the Appalachian
mountains, are being affected the most.
Sugar Maples dominate the hardwoods of
northeast range, as far south as Virginia and as
far west as Minnesota. One strange element
about the sugar maple is that they will produce
more and sweeter sap under stress.
"It pretty much stopped running," he says, though it was a
relatively good season overall. "This year we made 122
gallons (All tapped out." The United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that
the temperature is going to rise 3-10 degrees in the next
century and that is what is going to doom the maple syrup
production industry. Climate kills sugar maples by not giving
the trees enough sunlight to live. If sugar maples do not
have enough warmth to keep themselves going. It can’t be
too hot or too cold. Since the temperatures are expected to
increase, the sugar maples are not expected to live.