Differential impacts of calcium and aluminum treatments on sugar maple and American beech growth dynamics
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Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 45(1): 52-59.
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. Dominant sugar maple trees were unaffected by the treatment, but nondominant sugar maple tree growth responded positively to Ca treatment. Although plots were mainly composed of sugar maple, American beech experienced the greatest growth on Al-treated plots. Increases in tree mortality on Al-treated plots may have released surviving American beech and increased their growth. The Al tolerance of American beech and the Ca:Al sensitivity of sugar maple contributed to divergent growth patterns that influenced stand productivity and composition. Given that acidic inputs are expected to continue, the growth dynamics associated with Al treatment may have direct relevance to future conditions in native forests.
Halman, Joshua M.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Hawley, Gary J.; Hansen, Christopher F.; Fahey, Timothy J. 2015. Differential impacts of calcium and aluminum treatments on sugar maple and American beech growth dynamics. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 45(1): 52-59. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2014-0250.