What are the consequences of climate change on maple syrup production?

What are the consequences of climate change on maple syrup production?

Maple productions thrive when they are in very peculiar conditions, maple syrup can’t be produced in every regions due to the need of a precise climate. The singularity of maple syrup is that for the maple sap to flow, there needs to have a significant change between the weather. The sap can only thaw when the freezing nights alternate with the warmer spring days. Without this shift in temperature, the production is impossible, it is quite the science for the producers to know exactly how and when will flow the maple water. However, with the climate change that is more and more noticeable every year, the producers are starting to lose their landmarks. Overall, the winters are getting warmer and we beat records of temperature every month. We are found in a situation where we need to produce in unknown territory and uncertainty. Who knows what tomorrow will bring for the maple syrup industry. If the freeze-thaw cycle is at risk, then so is the production in the long term.

The thing with climate change is that the transformations are not necessarily noticeable currently but over the time. The climate sets in a long-term perception and is therefore difficult to predict because there is always an uncertain variant. It is hard to anticipate the consequences on the maple syrup production because the problematic is quite complex in itself. The actual observations could still change a whole lot and since it is not exact science, this is only predictions according to our current knowledge.

A study made a simulation to have an idea of the possible repercussions of climate change on the maple syrup production. According to the results and the analysis of the concrete situation, the conclusion is that, at this state, with the global augmentation of the temperature, the production could become earlier and earlier each year. In the long term, it could be expected to be at least a month early from the habitual schedule. Moreover, the rise of the temperature could shorten the period of sap flows thereby, the production season. It would be quite a challenge because the producers need to be aware of that changing reality if they want to adapt their production in that sense and try to deliver as much as before. The people who are not aware of that change could be way off mark and miss completely the season. For the maple grove to survive, it is imperial that the producer realizes that the sap flow period will change and that they will need to modify their customs in that sense. The more up south, the more the production period will be shortened. The climate change could also compromise the sap flow, because to have a good amount of maple water, there needs to have a strong cycle of freeze and thaw. If the climate fluctuates too drastically, this whole cycle could be jeopardize causing the quantity of maple syrup to decrease. The sugar content in maple trees depends on the carbohydrate stored the previous year. According to observations, the quality of the sap would eventually lower and so would the sugar content. Therefore, it would be way harder to produce a good maple syrup.

Besides, seems like the general health of sugar maple forests might be at risk too. The sugar maple prospers in a colder environment, it is essential to its growth and to its longevity, therefore, if the winters become shorter, the species could be endangered. It is possible to produce maple syrup with other types of maple trees; however, the sugar maple is the variety that is the most productive.

The producers that are located in the southern regions face a lot of uncertainty and are the ones who will be more affected by those big shifts. They could be in real peril, since the changes might also make it impossible for them to produce maple at all. For the regions in the middle like Vermont, it seems that they would be more in a neutral position, they would see a slight decrease in production but it would be quite comparable to before. The regions in the north like Quebec could however be “advantaged” by their location because they could see an increase in their productions. The ideal weather for maple syrup production would move up north leaving the south in a pickle. They would be less touched by this new reality, but still, every producer from north to south needs to rethink their techniques of production because their world might be disturbed in the long term.

It is already possible to see few changes; amongst others, the production season is slightly shorter. However, the total of gallons of maple syrup produced doesn’t decrease, the quantity is constant and is augmenting a little. This is due to the development of technology; the techniques are at the leading edge and allow to keep a good productivity. Technology might be the way to overcome those changes and make the best out of the situation. Also, the secret lays in starting to adapt the production and think of a strategy now, so when it comes, the producers will be prepared.

This is why it is also essential for the industry to engage adjustments in their ways. We, at Canadian Maple Company, decide to offer you a biologic maple syrup that put sustainability at the center of every decisions and techniques. This might not transform our fate regarding the climate change, but we sure think that we are doing something for the generations to come. In order to keep the production going, we think it’s a transition that must be done.

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References:

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