Dustin, C.D. 1986. Effects of acidic deposition on
sugar maple seedling development. M.S. Thesis, SUNY- ESF,
Syracuse, 89 pp.
Abstract: A field study was undertaken to characterize the conditions of exposure of Acer saccharum Marsh. (sugar maple) seedlings to acidic deposition under natural forest conditions. The early stages of seeding growth were found to be exposed to pulses of acidity in the form of snowmelt and spring rain. The complex spatial structure of the germination microsite, created by layers of leaves, is prone to desiccation. Thus any factor that decreases radicle elongation of fine root hair development may reduce the ability of seedlings to penetrate the leaf layer, and subsequently predispose seedlings to mortality due to desiccation.
An accompanying laboratory study utilized growth conditions closely resembling the field conditions of exposure to acidic deposition. The effects of acidic deposition on A. saccharum seedling growth are life cycle stage dependent. Radicle elongation and fine root hair growth may be retarded after brief exposure to simulated acid precipitation of pH 3.0. However, once emergence from the litter layer has occurred, increased acidity seems to have no readily observable effect on seedling growth.