Analysis of stand basal area development of thinned and unthinned Acer rubrum forests in the upper Great Lakes region, USA

Justin L. Pszwaro, Anthony W. D'Amato, Thomas E. Burk, Matthew B. Russell, Brian J. Palik, Terry F. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Red maple (Acer rubrum L.), historically a common but not abundant tree species in North America, has increased in abundance throughout its range over the last several decades; however, it has received little attention in growth and yield studies. The objectives of this study were to (i) evaluate the effects of stocking level and stand density on overall patterns of red maple stand productivity and (ii) quantify these relationships across a wide range of stand age, site quality, geographic location, and climatic conditions. We used long-term measurements from 52 sites in Wisconsin and Michigan to examine growth responses of even-aged red maple stands to various levels of thinning. Using linear, mixed-effects modeling, future stand-level red maple basal area was modeled as a function of stand and plot characteristics and climatic variables. Growing season precipitation and its interaction with initial red maple basal area were significant predictors; however, they only collectively reduced the mean squared error by 2.1% relative to a base model containing solely stand and plot factors. Model projections indicated there was little difference in predicted future basal area for the range of climate conditions experienced by these stands highlighting red maple's wide tolerance of environmental conditions across the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-655
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank C. Kern, D. Kastendick, and R. Cooke for assisting with various aspects of the study, as well as F. Falzone, K. Gill, N. Bolton, and M. Reinikainen for assisting with fieldwork. D. McKenney and P. Papadopol provided modeled climate data for the study site locations. Financial support for this research was provided by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 NRC Research Press.


  • Acer rubrum
  • Basal area growth
  • Climate
  • Great Lakes region


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