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New England's Sugar Country Confronts a Bitter Future as the Climate Warms


Environment  (tags: weather, environment, farming, climate-change, ecosystems, globalwarming )

Cal
- 1922 days ago - enn.com
All farming depends on the weather, but few foods are more dependent on a specific climate than maple syrup. After all, for the sugar maple's sap to run at all requires cooperative weather -- freezing nights followed by warmer days.



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Comments

Mark G. (36)
Wednesday April 8, 2009, 3:37 pm
The facts don't match. According to the NE Ag Statistics report from 2008 maple syrup production nationwide was UP 30%. Vermont's 2008 production was up 11%. The biggest negative for last season according to the report was the weather was too cool. In fact the report says, "Producers in northern Vermont and northern Maine had a less than favorable season, with frigid temperatures and deep snow interfering with sap flow and collection".
Vermont's maple syrup production since 2002 has been very good. Of course Canada produces 20 times more syrup than Vermont.
 

Dale Husband (126)
Wednesday April 8, 2009, 4:54 pm
And Mark G provides no link to us to see the actual report he cites.

Up 30% and up 11% compared to what? 2007? What about the statement in the article that "It takes a mature tree — 40 to 50 years old — to produce maple syrup safely. By that age, the sugar maple has reached a diameter of roughly 10 inches and, according to the standard Ontario tapping rule, can handle one tap. For every five inches in diameter the tree grows after that, the rule says, it can handle one more tap."

Meaning, of course, that long term stable conditions are necessary to ensure the most maple syrup production. The fluctuations caused by climate change threaten that.
 

Mark G. (36)
Thursday April 9, 2009, 5:09 am
Sorry Dale. I assumed you knew how to do your own search. My fault. The information is published by the New England Ag Stats Dept, a branch of the US Dept of Agriculture. 2008 statistics:

Also vermontmaple.org publishes "Maple Facts" which include past years production figures for all New England states. You can go there for more historical information.
Of course I noticed the original "article" offered no "facts" other than anecdotal.
 

Dale Husband (126)
Thursday April 9, 2009, 11:29 pm
"Sorry Dale. I assumed you knew how to do your own search."

No, you assumed that most of your readers would simply take you at your word and then you insult me for not doing so. Yes, that was your fault. Do not repeat that.

http://vermontmaple.org/maplefacts.html

Note that the data regarding maple yields does not include 2008.

http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/New_England_includes/Publications/0605mpl.pdf

{{{U.S. maple syrup production in 2008 totaled 1.64 million gallons, up 30 percent from 2007.}}}

Mark G misstated the report, WHICH IS WHY I DEMANDED TO SEE IT FOR MYSELF! It actually said on page 1:
{{{Temperatures were reported as mostly favorable for sap flow in 2008, except the northern regions of Maine and Vermont. Producers in Maine reported temperatures that were mostly too warm for sap flow while producers in Vermont reported temperatures that were mostly too cool.}}}

What's funny about that is the article Mark attacked explains just that.

http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/maples/All-tapped-out

{{{All farming depends on the weather, but few foods are more dependent on a specific climate than maple syrup. After all, for the sugar maple's sap to run at all requires cooperative weather — freezing nights followed by warmer days.}}}

{{{Sugar maples require a cold recharge, weeks of temperatures below freezing, to convert the starch the tree has stored during the summer months to the sucrose that will power its budding in the spring. It is the sucrose that gives the tree’s sap its sweetness, and no other tree, not even other maples, produces it in such abundance.}}}

What happened in 2008? The temperatures fell and thus the maple production increased. The concern now is that the temperatures may not stay lower because of the wild fluctuations global warming is understood to cause. Maple production would be even higher if we had stable, consistent climate over several decades, allowing maple trees to grow bigger. Oh, are you aware that in warmer climates, insect activity, including those that attack trees, skyrockets?
 
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