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Radial Growth Trends of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in an Allegheny Northern Hardwood Forest Affected by Beech Bark Disease

Lina M. DiGregorio, Marianne E. Krasny and Timothy J. Fahey
The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
Vol. 126, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1999), pp. 245-254
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2997279
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2997279
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Radial Growth Trends of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) in an Allegheny Northern Hardwood Forest Affected by Beech Bark Disease
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Abstract

In many forests of the northeastern U.S., canopy gaps are the predominant mode of disturbance and thus regulate future forest structure and species composition. We examined radial growth trends in canopy and subcanopy sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) trees growing in gaps and non-gap areas in three second-growth, Allegheny northern hardwood forest stands in central New York. Our objective was to determine if a recent diffuse disturbance of the canopy caused by beech bark disease stimulated growth of sugar maple trees in gaps and throughout the forest. Annual radial growth (mm/yr) of canopy gap-edge trees and subcanopy trees in gaps was significantly greater than that of canopy trees and subcanopy trees in non-gap areas. During the period of beech bark diseaseinduced canopy decline, non-gap subcanopy trees exhibited an annual radial growth 30% higher and a radial growth rate (mm/yr/yr) four times greater than during the years prior to the disturbance. In contrast, canopy trees not adjacent to gaps showed no change in radial growth coincident with the disturbance. These results suggest that in forests with significant canopy deterioration, differences in tree growth between gap and nongap environments can be expected; however, positive growth responses among sub-canopy trees may not be limited to the area directly in gaps and instead may occur throughout the forest.

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