Strange weather patterns and altered temperatures could cause trouble for maple syrup producers in North America, according to a new study.
Researchers at Cornell University predict that warming temperatures will cause maple sap production to decline slightly by the turn of the century and will force the window for tapping trees backward on the calendar by about a month.
Years of experience has taught maple syrup producers that the best time of year to collect maple sap is in the early part of the year – between January and the early weeks of March. This is when the sap is moving more readily through the tree, allowing you to collect the highest volume of sap.
The average amount of sap you can extract from a tree is about 5 to 15 gallons. However, some trees have been known to produce up to 80 gallons of sap in a year. It takes 10 gallons of sap to create one quart of syrup after the full reduction process of syrup making has been completed.
“By 2100, we can expect to begin tapping maples closer to Christmas in the Northeast,” Brian Chabot, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, states on Futurity.
Chabot’s study, which appeared earlier this year in the journal Climate Change, used the knowledge that maple sap flow is related to pressure changes in the trees’ xylem to help determine the impact of climate change on sap production.
Using scaled down global climate computer models they were then able to identify daily minimum and maximum temperatures during optimal eight-week windows for tapping sugar maples
Results showed that under a high carbon dioxide emissions computer model scenario, syrup production will decline slightly in the Northeast, mostly after 2030.
This confirms the findings of an earlier USDA report which showed that maple syrup production in New York has fallen more than 100,000 gallons over the past year — down a whopping 29 percent from 2009 levels, as reported by Neil Shader.
If you love the earthy sweetness of natural maple syrup, you might think about stowing some away in the years to come.
Image Credit: Flickr - The D34n