The Influence of Competition on Growth Characteristics of Sugar Maple, Acersaccharum

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CONFERENCE: Posters-at-the-Capitol

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Growth and form of trees is determined by a combination of ecology and genetics. While similar genetics are shared within a certain tree species, ecological conditions such as competition from other trees can affect growth and form. Using sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) as the species of interest, sugar maples were predicted to have lower trunk width, narrower crowns, and taller heights in areas of greater competition (deep forests) than sugar maples in lower levels of competition (park-like areas). A variety of forestry techniques was used to measure individual sugar maple trees and also measure density and size of competing trees. Results indicated that sugar maples in the deep forest have lower trunk widths, narrower crowns, but shorter heights compared to sugar maple trees in parks. Such information supports the idea that competition is an important ecological factor affecting growth and form of sugar maple trees.