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Study: Adirondack Sugar Maples in Decline

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
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Sugar maples across the Adirondack Mountains are in significant and surprising decline, according to a study published today in the journal Ecosphere.

Harvard Forest research assistant Dan Bishop analyzed the growth rings of hundreds of sugar maples during his time as a graduate student at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. His work built on an earlier study of acid rain impacts on sugar maple forests in the Adirondacks.

“Given their relatively young age and favorable competitive status in these forests, these sugar maples should be experiencing the best growth rates of their lives. It was a complete surprise to see their growth slow down like this,” said Bishop. “But our data tells a clear story. We can detect the start of a region-wide downturn after 1970, with a large proportion of the trees continuing this trend over recent years.”

(Photo by Neil Pederson)

 

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