Posts tagged maple trees.
Syrup makers toil this winter
- Record winter temperatures are wreaking havoc with maple tree systems, forcing syrup producers to tap trunks early to catch the best, most sugary sap.
USDA’s New Plant Hardiness Zone Confirms Vermont Is Getting Warmer
Since 1970, the average temperature in New England has risen 2 degrees Fahrenheit, with average winter temperatures rising twice as fast — 4 degrees between 1970 and 2000. That’s according to Alan Betts, an atmospheric researcher from Pittford, Vt.
Precipitation in Vermont has also increased by as much as 20 percent, with more of it arriving as rain and less as snow. Overall, Betts warns Vermonters to expect rainier winters, earlier springs, hotter summers, longer and more persistent droughts, and heavier and more frequent and torrential “extreme” weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene.
I live in New England and anecdotally people have been saying that the foliage season is shorter. Factually, however, maple sugarers are seeing less sap in the spring. Some have even sued because their businesses are being impacted by the government’s failure to regulate, as I wrote about here. Now, UNH is producing data showing that maples are indeed in decline. Interesting that the research is being quantified into tourist dollars, impacting state budgets - now that will get their attention!
Barrett Rock, a botanist and forestry professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Complex Systems Research Center in Durham, has been studying spectral satellite imagery of New England’s forests for decades, and said he’s seen a pattern of maple tree decline.
Maple trees are being affected by climate change…he said.
One way in which the changes he’s seeing via satellite imagery are beginning to manifest to the naked eye is that foliage seasons are more often becoming less spectacular, he said.
Global warming in New Hampshire also has meant warmer springs, a time that is typically the height of maple sugaring season, with March of 2010 being the warmest in recent memory.
The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development estimated some 7.7 million visitors came to the Granite State during foliage season this year and spent roughly $1.1 billion. According to the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, some 90,000 gallons of maple syrup are produced annually, bringing more than $3 million to the state.