quote: Warmer-than-usual winters are throwing things out of kilter, causing confusion among maple syrup producers, called sugar makers, and stoking fears for the survival of New England’s maple forests.
“We can’t rely on tradition like we used to,” said Mr. Morse, 58, who once routinely began the sugaring season by inserting taps into trees around Town Meeting Day, the first Tuesday in March, and collecting sap to boil into syrup up until about six weeks later. The maple’s biological clock is set by the timing of cold weather.
For at least 10 years some farmers have been starting sooner. But last year Mr. Morse tapped his trees in February and still missed out on so much sap that instead of producing his usual 1,000 gallons of syrup, he made only 700.
quote:While some farmers and other Vermonters suggest the recent warm years could be just a cyclical hiccup of nature or the result of El Niño, many maple researchers now say it seems more like a long-term trend. Since 1971, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data, winter temperatures in the Northeast have increased by 2.8 degrees.
quote: Over the long haul, the industry in New England may face an even more profound challenge, the disappearance of sugar maples altogether as the climate zone they have evolved for moves across the Canadian border.
“One hundred to 200 years from now,” Dr. Perkins said, “there may be very few maples here, mainly oak, hickory and pine. There are projections that say over about 110 years our climate will be similar to that of Virginia.”
quote:“In the ’50s and ’60s, 80 percent of world’s maple syrup came from the U.S., and 20 percent came from Canada,” said Barrett N. Rock, a professor of natural resources at the University of New Hampshire. “Today it’s exactly the opposite. The climate that we used to have here in New England has moved north to the point where it’s now in Quebec.”
My first thought when I heard about this (it was on ABCNews last night) was, hey, great, we can grow oranges in Gainesville again.
In the 1800's Gainesville, FL was a major grower of oranges, towards the end of the 1800's and the early 1900's the climate got a little colder, and Gainesville became too far north for oranges, it started freezing too often to make the orange groves viable.
The good news is that it would only take a couple of degrees of warming to make us rich.
That is probably about how the Canadian Maple farmers feel about this too
Posts: 3719 | Registered: Jul 2004
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The traditional new england winter is slowly dying, and its truly sad. Soon no more maple syrup, and skiing in new england has become a very hit or miss proposition. While XC and downhill ski centers used to be able to rely on snow from christmas through mid-march, or even later, now ski season is really only a few weeks long, and its getting worse.
Its a huge hit to a new england economy that, because of the soil quality, won't be able to take agricultural advantage of warming, and will attract fewer tourists during winter months that, instead of being a wonderfully unique time, will be basically november... and as ishmael says, november is the worst of months.
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So far as the survival of the sugar maple goes, its range will drift northwards in Quebec and, one presumes, in to Labrador if it survives the thrip; and will then drift southwards again with the next Ice Age.
But, as the picture postcards? Vermont hasn't been the same since it became a postbox in the Bronx.
And I have absolutely no sympathy with Mr Morse -- whose family does not approve of proper paternal tracking; so eff him and his business.
Posts: 7866 | Registered: Apr 2004
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