Plant and Soil

, Volume 300, Issue 1–2, pp 173–183 | Cite as

Foliar and wood chemistry of sugar maple along a gradient of soil acidity and stand health

Regular Article


The decline of sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) in forest of north-eastern North America is an important environmental issue. In this study, relationships between, soil, wood and foliar chemistry were assessed for 17 stands distributed within a large area of the Quebec sugar maple forest and that were growing on soils with a strong gradient of acidity and base saturation. There were many significant relationships between variables describing the acid-base status of the top-B soil (Ca and Mg concentrations, exchangeable acidity and base saturation) and Ca and Mn concentrations and Ca/Mn and Mg/Mn in tree tissues. Manganese was the element that showed the strongest inverse non-linear relationships with top-B soil base saturation with variance explanation of 71 and 65%, for wood and foliage, respectively. The 17 sites were divided in two groups according to their level of decline. The declining stands had significantly higher wood Mn and Mg concentrations and lower Ca/Mn ratios and significantly higher foliar Mn and lower Ca and Al concentrations. It was impossible to determine if these differences were a cause or a symptom of sugar maple health. However, the increase in Mn concentrations in tree tissues with increasing soil acidity, as well as the higher Mn concentrations in declining as compared to healthy stands suggest that Mn, as well as low Ca availability, could be an important contributing factor in the sugar maple decline.


Sugar maple Maple decline Ca Mn Wood and foliar chemistry 



This research project was supported by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec (project no. 0200 3057). We wish to thank Jacques Martineau and Benoît Toussaint for field sampling and assistance, Lise Charette for statistical advice and the chemistry laboratory of the Direction de la recherche forestière for chemical analyses. Finally, we want to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their generous and constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Natural Resources and WildlifeSte-FoyCanada

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