Soft maple, growing naturally in the hardwood forests of North America, is one of the most prolific and sustainable species, similar to hard maple but slightly softer in impact hardness.
Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum
red maple, silver maple
American soft maples grow widely across the eastern USA in mixed hardwood forests with more red maple in the northeast and silver maple concentrated in the mid and southern states. The name can be misleading as soft maple is not technically very soft. There are a significant number of sub-species – all sold as soft maple. Several, including Pacific coast/big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), grow in the northwest USA, for which there are specific grading rules that apply.
FIA data shows U.S. soft maple growing stock is 1.55 billion m3, 11.7% of total U.S. hardwood growing stock. American soft maple is growing 36.4 million m3 per year while the harvest is 14.8 million m3 per year. The net volume (after harvest) is increasing 21.6 million m3 each year. U.S. soft maple growth exceeds harvest in all the main producing states.