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 collaborating 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.
In early May, 14 volunteer citizen scientists were trained to assist Hubbard Brook researchers in establishing study plots and collecting data on tree demography, soil samples and seedling assessment. In this first year of the project, we expect that citizen Scientists will learn an incredible amount about forest dynamics, tree and seedling identification, using forest science field tools, and the scientific process! To get a better idea of what they will be doing at study sites, you can read through our Sugar Maple Regeneration Citizen Science Training Guide. Additional study sites will be added in 2020; If you are interested in becoming a citizen scientist volunteer for this project, please contact Carrie Deegan at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about the project and volunteer commitment.
This project has been generously supported by USDA Northeast Climate Hub, the National Science Foundation (Long Term Ecological Research and Public Engagement with Science Grants) and Cornell University (Engaged Cornell Grant).