Skip to Main Content
The complex relationship between climate and sugar maple health: Climate change implications in Vermont for a key northern hardwood speciesAuthor(s): Evan M. Oswald; Jennifer Pontius; Shelly A. Rayback; Paul G. Schaberg; Sandra H. Wilmot; Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux
Source: Forest Ecology and Management
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (1.0 MB)
DescriptionThis study compared 141 ecologically relevant climate metrics to field assessments of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) canopy condition across Vermont, USA from 1988 to 2012. After removing the influence of disturbance events during this time period to isolate the impact of climate, we identified five climate metrics that were significantly related to sugar maple crown condition. While three of these are monthly summary metrics commonly used in climate analyses (minimum April, August and October temperatures), two are novel metrics designed to capture extreme climate events (periods of unusual warmth in January and August). The proportion of climate-driven variability in canopy condition is comparable to the proportion accounted for by defoliating pests and other disturbance events. This indicates that climate conditions, though rarely included in sugar maple decline studies, may be of equal importance as more traditionally studied stress agents. Modeled across the state, results indicate that changes in historical climatic conditions have negatively impacted sugar maple health over the 25 year study period, and are likely to degrade further over time. Climate projections under a low emissions scenario indicated that by 2071 55% of sugar maple across the state would likely experience moderate to severe climate-driven stress relative to historic baselines, increasing to 84% under a high emissions scenario. However, geographic variability in projected climate impacts indicates that while conditions for sugar maple will likely deteriorate across the state, climate refugia should also be available to maintain sugar maple in spite of changing climatic conditions. Considering the predominant role of sugar maple in Vermont's economy and culture, managing this resource into the future could pose a considerable challenge.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationOswald, Evan M.; Pontius, Jennifer; Rayback, Shelly A.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Wilmot, Sandra H.; Dupigny-Giroux, Lesley-Ann. 2018. The complex relationship between climate and sugar maple health: Climate change implications in Vermont for a key northern hardwood species. Forest Ecology and Management. 422: 303-312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2018.04.014.
KeywordsClimate change, Acer saccharum, Crown condition, Crown health, Forest decline, Forest management
- Population dynamics of sugar maple through the southern portion of its range: implications for range migration
- Field identification of birdseye in sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.)
- Health of eastern North American sugar maple forests and factors affecting decline
XML: View XML