Have you heard? Sugar maples (Acer saccharum) may be one of those things which go the way of the American chestnut tree – “When I was a kid, they were everywhere. Forest ecosystems were based around them. Now… well, they are so rare their locations are kept secret to keep them safe.”
At least, that is what a paper published in Ecology concludes may be one outcome in the future. Looking at various studies and research done over 20 years, they combined factors to extrapolate the effect on the trees. While the trees’ growth would benefit from certain factor changes, others may lead to them basically dying of thirst.
It remains to be seen if this is another the-sky-is-falling scenario, or if it will actually play out this way. After all, the authors did say this would be a result of “growing under the considerably drier conditions characteristic of our most extreme climatic scenario”.
The Canadian Journal of Forestry published a research paper which highlighted just how tough it is to be a natural sugar maple seedling in New Hampshire. From their study areas only 3.4% over 7 years. “Location, location, location” seemed to be an important factor in their survival.