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Acer campestre
Field maple

The field maple (Acer campestre) is a medium-sized deciduous tree. It has a very wide ecological range and a natural distribution covering most of Europe. Even though the timber is of good quality for cabinetry, turnery and carving, the tree only rarely reaches a feasible dimension for such use. Instead, field maple is mostly used for firewood and pulpwood, owing to its capabilities of coppicing very quickly. It is also commonly planted as an ornamental in gardens and parks due to its beautiful colours in autumn. The sap can be used for maple syrup and the flowers are beneficial for honey production. Furthermore, its root system also makes it useful for mitigating soil erosion.

The tree prefers warmer climates but is able to tolerate hard winters. Field maple favours calcareous soils, although it also grows well on heavy clay. It is extremely shade-tolerant during the first decade, yet later its light requirement increases.

Map elements

Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use

Acer campestre - Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use for field maple

Publication Year: 2004
Author: Nagy, L.; Ducci, F.

Given the presumed good overall status of the genetic resources and the limited value of field maple, a low-intensity in situ conservation approach is advised.

An efficient conservation programme requires substantial genetic knowledge of the target species. In order to obtain this knowledge, inventories and genetic studies are needed to assess the existing genetic diversity and its distribution. As this information is lacking, several general measures are described below.

With regard to the different ecological conditions within the natural distribution, a network of at least 30 in situ conservation units, each with more than 50 unrelated, flowering and seeddispersing specimens, is needed to capture the existing adaptability. This network should evenly cover the whole distribution area, as well as the ecological variation of the occurrences.

In order to enhance efficiency, the network might include existing conservation areas, seed stands, breeding collections and conservation units of other species (e.g. oak, beech, other noble hardwoods), as long as the management practices and measures do not hinder the conservation of field maple genetic resources.
The marginal regions should also be represented. In the case of endangered, fragmented or small populations, and stands growing under special conditions or carrying unique features, ex situ collections should supplement the network of conservation units. These collections should be established from propagation material obtained within the same ecological region, should be designed to avoid inbreeding and be preferred for use as seed sources.

Maintaining the landscape function of field maple in vineyards could be an efficient approach for on-farm conservation in agricultural areas.


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