Adaptive silviculture to save our sugar maple – with a focus on artificial regeneration. An NHRI workshop.
Time and again researchers, foresters, and landowners have tried and failed to grow sugar maple plantations anywhere except where maple had recently thrived. Sugar maple has always had problems establishing, from predator browsing, herbaceous competition, forest cover removal and issues with frost pockets. Now, with future climate increasing disturbance regimes, increasing temperatures, and changing snow cover we question whether our sugar maple will have time to adapt. Even natural regeneration is seeing issues due to beech bark disease suckering and sprouting in maple-beech stands, causing increased competition. Here lies the problem, what can we do if both natural regeneration and artificial regeneration have failed to re-establish and grow maple stands where they were once quite successful? And is there a way to restore maple stands where clearcutting or agriculture has reduced the site quality? And finally, is it worth the cost and effort to try? The short answer is maybe. My workshop will incorporate knowledge of adaptive silviculture and hardwood regeneration and apply them to decision keys and best management practices to help landowners make real decisions on how best to save our maple resource. I’ll also update on the current ARM project with the National Tree Seed Centre, Kingsclear Provincial Tree Nursery, and AV Group where we are attempting to produce hardwoods at an operational scale for the first time in New Brunswick.