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Ecology. 2006 May;87(5):1267-80.

Response of sugar maple to calcium addition to northern hardwood forest.

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  • 1Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.

Erratum in

  • Ecology. 2006 Aug;87(8):2131.

Abstract

Watershed budget studies at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF), New Hampshire, USA, have demonstrated high calcium depletion of soil during the 20th century due, in part, to acid deposition. Over the past 25 years, tree growth (especially for sugar maple) has declined on the experimental watersheds at the HBEF. In October 1999, 0.85 Mg Ca/ha was added to Watershed 1 (W1) at the HBEF in the form of wollastonite (CaSiO3), a treatment that, by summer 2002, had raised the pH in the Oie horizon from 3.8 to 5.0 and, in the Oa horizon, from 3.9 to 4.2. We measured the response of sugar maple to the calcium fertilization treatment on W1. Foliar calcium concentration of canopy sugar maples in W1 increased markedly beginning the second year after treatment, and foliar manganese declined in years four and five. By 2005, the crown condition of sugar maple was much healthier in the treated watershed as compared with the untreated reference watershed (W6). Following high seed production in 2000 and 2002, the density of sugar maple seedlings increased significantly on W1 in comparison with W6 in 2001 and 2003. Survivorship of the 2003 cohort through July 2005 was much higher on W1 (36.6%) than W6 (10.2%). In 2003, sugar maple germinants on W1 were approximately 50% larger than those in reference plots, and foliar chlorophyll concentrations were significantly greater (0.27 g/m2 vs. 0.23 g/m2 leaf area). Foliage and fine-root calcium concentrations were roughly twice as high, and manganese concentrations twice as low in the treated than the reference seedlings in 2003 and 2004. Mycorrhizal colonization of seedlings was also much greater in the treated (22.4% of root length) than the reference sites (4.4%). A similar, though less dramatic, difference was observed for mycorrhizal colonization of mature sugar maples (56% vs. 35%). These results reinforce and extend other regional observations that sugar maple decline in the northeastern United States and southern Canada is caused in part by anthropogenic effects on soil calcium status, but the causal interactions among inorganic nutrition, physiological stress, mycorrhizal colonization, and seedling growth and health remain to be established.

PMID:
16761605
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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