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Sugar Maple Decline after Defoliation by Forest Tent Caterpillar

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Defoliation is a significant stressor of forest stands that may incite decline disease of sugar maple (Acer saccharum: Marsh). The recent outbreak (2002–2007) of forest tent caterpillar (FTC; Malacosoma disstria: Hübner) in the northeastern United States offered the opportunity to assess the effects of defoliation and site conditions on sugar maple health. We measured 51 North American Maple Project stands in New York and Vermont in the summer of 2007. Dieback (P = 0.07) and mortality (P = 0.04) were both worse in stands defoliated by FTC. Low growing–season soil moisture during the outbreak, indicated by Palmer's Z-index; cool mean temperature during the outbreak; and concave microrelief were also important predictors of forest damage. We present the results of our multiple regression equations for stand dieback (R 2 = 0.71) and mortality (R 2 = 0.64) in tables that can be used by forest managers to evaluate the vulnerability of their sugar maple stands to decline after defoliation by FTC.
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Keywords: NAMP; dieback; forest health; vigor; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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