Climate Change Could Drain Maple Syrup

msyr1We know global warming is heating the planet, raising sea levels, drowning polar bears and screwing with the weather, but now it’s threatening our breakfast.

If you eat pancakes, you probably love drowning them in maple syrup, hopefully pure organic maple syrup and not the brand name stuff cut with water and high fructose corn syrup.

Here’s the problem, hotter temperatures are smothering sugar maple trees in the United States:

It is the 3˚ to 10˚ F warming predicted over the next century by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that may doom the sugar maple in the northeastern U.S.

Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concedes that the sugar maple will not survive the century in New England. It’s Climate Action Report from 2002 notes “climate change is likely to cause long-term shifts in forest species, such as sugar maples moving north out of the country.”

In other words, it is not a question of if the sugar maple will disappear, it is a question of when. Such shifts of species have taken place gradually in the past, over hundreds of years, allowing adaptation, but not in this case.

Sugar maples aren’t the only living things being edged out by climate change. Global warming could cause drought starving 3 billion people, wipe out 75% of Antarctic’s penguin colonies and a temperature increase of just 2 degrees will annihilate kangaroos.

Via The Daily Climate.

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  • Arnold Coombs  April 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I’m glad this is getting the coverage it deserves. This is a real issue. As a seven generation maple farmer, I’m proud to still tap the same Sugar Maples as my great great grandfather. I wonder how much longer this will continue.

    In just my lifetime, I have seen sugaring season (time when we begin tapping our trees) move from early March to mid February.Over the last decade, many sugarmakers recognized that WE contribute to the problem as well. And while we do still occasionally burn wood in the original sugarhouse during annual maple weekends, at Coombs Family Farms, we long ago shifted away from wood fired evaporators to energy saving reverse osmosis machines and vacuum tube systems. The result has been over a 90% decrease in energy and carbon emissions at our farm alone (over 1,955,000 lbs). And many other sugar makers are doing the same.

    As for the elaborate tubing systems? They use gravity to help transport instead of trucks. We need to remember, change starts with us.

    Arnold Coombs, Coombs Family Farms Organic Maple

  • Organic Foodie  May 18, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Great job Arnold, great to hear about how people are helping where they can. That tubing system sounds very interesting.

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