Sugar Maple Regeneration Citizen Science Project
Sugar Maple trees (Acer saccharum) are important to New Hampshire economically, ecologically and culturally. We depend on their blazingly bright foliage to bring in autumn tourist crowds, and their sap supports hundreds of sugarmakers across the state each spring. Sugar maples are a valuable timber species, producing high-end lumber that has many uses, and ecologically, they are an integral component of our northern hardwood forests. Unfortunately, there is some evidence that sugar maples are struggling to maintain their place in our forests. Long term research out of Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in North Woodstock, NH has documented a failure of sugar maple seedlings to survive. The exact combination of factors leading to this failure is unclear currently, but likely includes increased soil acidification from acid rain, insect and fungal pests, competition with American beech, and climate warming.
The Forest Society is teaming up with Hubbard Brook scientists to launch a new citizen science project to determine whether the sugar maple seedling failure documented at Hubbard Brook is occuring on similar northern hardwood forest sites across New Hampshire. Research sites will be located on Forest Society reservations and research activities will pair HBEF scientists with Forest Society volunteers to collect data. In Spring 2019, research plots will be established at Kauffmann Forest (Stark), Sudrabin Forest (Orange), Yatsevitch Forest (Cornish), and Monadnock Reservation (Dublin), with additional sites to follow in subsequent years.
We are currently looking to find 3-4 volunteers for each site interested in training as citizen scientists for this project! Training will take place on Thursday May 9, 2019 at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in North Woodstock, and volunteers will be assigned to one of the four project sites to collect data alongside HBEF scientists. Citizen Scientists will learn an incredible amount about forest dynamics, tree and seedling identification, using forest science field tools, and the scientific process! You must be willing to attend the initial training and travel to one of the four research sites for 4-6 days of work between May and mid-August, and be interested in continuing in subsequent years (barring unforseen circumstances, of course). Some hiking and bushwhacking will be involved, as well as the typical annoyances of outdoor work (heat, wind, biting insects, etc.) but all worth it in the name of science! And sugar maples!
If you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist volunteer for this project, please contact Carrie Deegan at email@example.com. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about the project and volunteer commitment.