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The Sexual and Vegetative Propagation of Sugar Maple and its Threat from Norway Maple

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Title: The Sexual and Vegetative Propagation of Sugar Maple and its Threat from Norway Maple
Author: Roussy, Anne-Marie
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Kevan, Peter
Abstract: ABSTRACT The Sexual and Vegetative Propagation of Sugar Maple and its Threat from Norway Maple Anne-Marie Roussy Advisor: University of Guelph, 2014 Professor Peter Kevan My study has three main components. The first is to study the pollination mechanism of Acer saccharum Marsh. (sugar maple) in the town of Mono, Dufferin County, Southern Ontario. The second is to develop a technique to obtain clonal material from A. saccharum. These two steps will provide better seeds and seedlings for future afforestation by using genetic material from mature trees (aged 80+ years) which have already undergone mass selection in the wild. The third component of this study is to suggest legislative ways to reduce the threat of the biological pollutant which is the invasive Acer platanoides L. (Norway maple), before it out-competes current and future populations of A. saccharum throughout N. America. My study findings point to A. saccharum’s being exclusively a wind pollinated species in southern Ontario, despite previous literature reporting it to be insect pollinated. No evidence of biotic pollination was observed throughout seven years of observations. Clonal propagation of A. saccharum used a simple, low-cost, air-layering technique over a four-year period at four locations throughout Ontario and eastern Canada. In Ontario, air-layering was not as successful, possibly because of varying climatic conditions or elevated pollution levels. Rooting at maritime locations was however successful every year. These results suggest that air-layering propagation holds promise for future afforestation of A. saccharum under adequate conditions.   The invasive species, A. platanoides was found to be a serious threat to the long term survival of A. saccharum. Amendment of the current federal Plant Protection Act 1990, c.22 or the Ontario Weed Control Act 1990, cW.5 could curb the extent of A. platanoides in Canada. The findings from the three components of my thesis will contribute towards the health and longevity of A. saccharum populations in S. Ontario and N. America by providing insight into its pollination biology, effective propagation mechanisms, and protection from an invasive species.
Date: 2014-04
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