Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Environmental Conservation

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Barrett N Rock


Climate change is projected to extirpate Acer saccharum throughout its range in the United States. The current investigation evaluates the potential of spectral indices of foliar reflectance, measures of leaf area and bud quality, and historic trends in sap sugar and wood increments for detecting stress in sugar maple.

Thirty trees were examined in 10 plots on 5 sugar bushes in or near the Bearcamp Valley, New Hampshire, over the course of the 2008 growing season. The study found water stress in 100% of trees; reduced chlorophyll content in 60%; early abscission of leaves in 80%; reduced growing season in 70%; and poor fall foliage color in 80%. Drought in early summer and unusually heavy rain in mid-summer are likely factors. Despite stress, 73% of the trees produced high quality buds. Differences in stand management, site conditions, and prior stresses account for differences in response to stress.