Reply to the comment by bailey et al. On “long-term decline of sugar maple following forest harvest, hubbard brook experimental forest, new hampshire”

John J. Battles, Natalie L. Cleavitt, Chris E Johnson, Timothy J. Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


Sugar maple decline in eastern North America is caused by a complex combination of factors, with soil nutrition being one of several important determinants. Given the complexity of sugar maple population dynamics and the geographic extent of the species, we support Bailey et al.’s (2019, Can. J. For. Res. 49(7), doi:10.1139/cjfr-2018-0207) argument to interpret results from Cleavitt et al. (2018, Can. J. For. Res. 48(1): 23–31, doi:10.1139/cjfr-2017-0233) with due caution. The experiment at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest represents an atypical application of contemporary forest practice in the White Mountain National Forest; however, some comments in Bailey et al. (2019) missed the point; others inaccurately characterized our paper. Cleavitt et al.’s (2018) 30-year record of vegetation recovery following whole-tree harvest documented a worrisome inability of a sugar maple population that successfully established after harvest to maintain its position in the understory. This lack of persistence on base-poor soils such as those in the mid and upper elevations of Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest suggests that the successful recruitment of sugar maple is not guaranteed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-864
Number of pages2
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Community assembly
  • Forest recovery
  • Northern hardwood forest
  • Sustainable management
  • Whole-tree harvest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology

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