Modeling Age Structure, Abundance, and Distribution of Maple Species on Campus



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Norway maple (Acer platanoides), one of the most abundant invasive trees in Massachusetts, is often associated with reduced native forest diversity. To shed light on the effects of Norway maple on sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and red maple (Acer rubrum) - local native maple species - I conducted a study on the Mount Holyoke campus. In three sites, I recorded tree species and diameter, average canopy cover, and soil moisture. With multivariate regression, I analyzed relationships between abiotic variables and maple species and any interaction effects among maple species. To explore the population and community consequences of small changes in survival and growth, I attempted to construct population projection matrix models for each maple species. Environmental conditions appear to affect recruitment and growth of each maple species with the most overlap in sugar and red maples. The size distributions suggest that red maple may originally have been dominant but is experiencing replacement by sugar maple. Although both sugar and Norway maples are increasing, there are indications that Norway maple may negatively affect sugar maples and could replace it in the long term. Long-term data are highly desirable for matrix models to confirm the interaction and replacement dynamics among the maple species.



invasive species, maple trees, modeling