Evidence for Increasing Red Maple Abundance in the Eastern United States

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Red maple (Acer rubrum L.) is widely believed to be increasing in abundance in eastern North America, but most evidence is anecdotal or localized. In this article we present analyses of FIA data sets designed to formally quantify changes in abundance of red maple in the eastern United States during the period of 1980 to 2005. The results indicate that recent increases in red maple abundance are almost ubiquitous on a state-by-state basis throughout the species' natural range and generally greatest in the western portions of the range. No states experienced a significant decrease in red maple abundance during this period. There is evidence that the species has naturalized into areas west of its putative pre-Columbian distribution. Red maple had an inverse “J” population structure, and density of red maple trees has increased in all diameter classes across the region. The trend of increasing red maple abundance will continue unless the circumstances that cause this phenomenon are changed.

Keywords: FIA; natural range; population structure

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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