Colorful Maple leaves

NPR : In New England, Concern Grows for Sugar Maple

In central New Hampshire, a pair of sugar maple trees frames the doorway to a historic house. The trees were likely planted by the family that originally built the house around 1790.

“They’re wonderful gnarled trees,” says lumberman Jamey French, whose parents live here in central New Hampshire. “They’re in the latter stages of their life, all cabled now.”

The French family is enormously beholden to the sugar maple for the butcher blocks, bowling lanes and squash and basketball courts its wood has been prized for. It is wood that has been harvested and sold by four generations of this hardwood lumber family.

At heart a steward of the forest, French has been watching many tree species for signs of decline, particularly the sugar maple. It’s a touchy species living in a landscape of tangible, environmental change.

“I’ve seen multiple species of birds wintering over that were not common in my childhood: mocking birds and cardinals and titmice,” French says. “Look along the sides of roads, and between the salt, acid rain, potential heat and drought cycles, you see trees stressed and dying. Boy, this is happening right in front of our eyes.”

This is really scary. The thought of New England losing it’s beautiful maples because we killed them if just awful. We’ve been in a terrible drought in Virginia this year , in fact all through the mid-Atlantic and south. It really makes me wonder if anything can really help at this point. Is it too late already?

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