NYSERDA Projects:

Effects of Air Pollution on Sugar Maple Health, Growth, and Regeneration

Effects of Acidic Deposition and Soil Acidification on Sugar Maple Trees in the Adirondack Mountains, New York

E&S Environmental Chemistry is collaborating with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service to assess the effects of acidic deposition on the current growth, health, and regeneration of sugar maple trees, and to determine the extent to which sugar maple response is associated with soil conditions in small upland watersheds within the Oswegatchie and Black river basins of the southwestern Adirondack Mountains in New York. Specific objectives are to 1) assess the visible health of dominant and codominant sugar maple trees through systematic evaluation of canopy condition, 2) analyze historical growth trends through dendrochronology, 3) assess regeneration as reflected in seedling and sapling density, 4) assess soil chemistry, 5) determine relationships among sugar maple health, soil chemistry, and stream chemistry, 6) evaluate the extent to which poor soil base cation status and/or vegetative health can be inferred from existing streamwater chemistry data in low-order stream watersheds, and 7) develop an integrated ecosystem assessment of soil, stream water, and sugar maple condition that can be applied to the regional population of 565 southwestern Adirondack watersheds. This project represents a critical step in the assessment of chemical and biological acidification impacts and recovery responses of Adirondack terrestrial resources in response to changing levels of acidic deposition. The timing of past sugar maple growth declines in the western Adirondack Mountains is determined relative to known trends in atmospheric sulfur deposition. The relationships between chemical indicators of soil acid-base chemistry (e.g., base saturation, exchangeable calcium and magnesium) and biological indicators of acidification effect on sugar maple (e.g., growth, health, regeneration) are quantified for use in critical loads modeling.

This project is ongoing. Once final, the report will be available for downloading here.

UPDATED December 13th, 2011: Minor edits to the data_SoilChem table with metadata included. Download the updated sugar maple database.