Maple; One of Eight Products Threatened by Climate Change!


"Eight foods you're about to lose due to climate change"

This was the headline in a 2014 article in The Guardian newspaper. The article goes on to say;

"As worsening drought and extreme weather devastate crops, you may begin seeing global warming when you open your fridge.

What does climate change taste like?

It’s an odd question, but an increasingly pertinent one. After all, as temperatures rise and extreme weather becomes the norm, many food production systems are becoming threatened. As that trend increases, it’s worth asking which foods consumers will have to cut back on – or abandon entirely. 

According to David Lobell, deputy director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment at Stanford University, “The general story is that agriculture is sensitive. It’s not the end of the world; but it will be a big enough deal to be worth our concern.”"

This is what the article stated regarding maple syrup and how maple trees, and as a result maple products, are threatened by climate change:

Maple syrup

Wetter winters and drier summers are putting more stress on sugar maples, the trees whose sap is needed to produce maple syrup. In the winter, the trees need freezing temperatures to fuel the expansion and contraction process that they use to produce the necessary sap. Rising temperatures are already causing sap to flow earlier: according to some estimates, this may push up maple production by up to a month by the end of the next century.

The US Department of Agriculture also predicts that the industry will move north, as the trees in cooler areas fair better, and maple trees in states such as Pennsylvania are less likely to survive the shift. The USDA Forest Service has developed the Climate Change Tree Atlas, which shows that sugar maples will likely loose some habitat. “While maple trees won’t necessarily vanish from the landscape,” says the federal agency, but “there could be fewer trees that are more stressed, further reducing maple syrup availability.”

REFERENCES 

Information is gathered from congressional testimony of Dr. Timothy Perkins, Director of University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center with additional projections from Skinner et al. (2010).

 


Dori Ross

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