Why do they want us there? What do they hope to gain?
We are beginning our restoration work in three sugar bushes. These are perfect “test sites” for us as they are privately owned, controlled-access properties with large areas of accessible forest plots that we can manipulate in a controlled way. Our manipulation is the addition of specific quantities of ashes to staked-out plots to compare with control plots that don’t receive the treatments.
Independently of Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, local sugar bush operators recently documented levels of calcium (Ca) in their sugar bush soils that were so low that the health, growth and recruitment of their trees were at risk, and they were seeking solutions.
Thus, three local members of the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (the Rileys, the Luptons and the Creasors) were pleased to give us permission to use their sugar bushes to determine how much ash would be needed to solve the problem of Ca limitation of maples in their sugar bushes. They hope we will both provide additional, definitive evidence of the Ca limitation problem of trees on their properties, but, more importantly, evidence for how much ash, and thus Ca, is needed to correct this problem.