When it comes to maple syrup production, Maryland isn’t first on the list—in fact, the state ranks near the bottom of U.S. syrup production (Vermont, of course, is number one). Of the Chesapeake Bay watershed’s six states, New York ranks highest, accounting for more than 15 percent of U.S. production. Pennsylvania typically accounts for around five percent, while Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia may produce a few thousand gallons of maple syrup a year. But much of the region falls along the southern edge of maple syrup production, meaning these may be some of the first areas to experience how a changing climate affects this cultural and economic tradition.What kind of industry makes a few thousand gallons of syrup that retails for $65-150 per gallon? Not a very important one. Oh my goodness, we'll have to rely on the hippies in Vermont, and the Canucks for our maple syrup.
Late-winter temperatures—warm, sunny days followed by cool nights—are crucial to start the flow of the sugar maple’s watery, slightly-sweet sap. But temperatures across the globe have been steadily rising, with 2015 the warmest year on record, and these warmer temperatures could affect the habitat and health of trees like the sugar maple.Could. Notice all the waffles, in bold. Quick, we must crash civilization as we know it, to save the Maryland maple syrup industry.
As temperatures warm, certain areas may no longer be suitable habitat for tree species that are common today, including the sugar maple. The Maryland Climate Action Plan suggests maple-beech-birch forests are likely to fade northward and be replaced by species currently found south of the state. Even low-range predictions from the U.S. Forest Service’s Climate Change Atlas suggest suitable habitat for sugar maples will retreat to the northern reaches of the watershed over the next 100 years.Danger, Will Robinson. Be very wary of any organization that put "Socio-Ecological" in its name. It's bullshit and propaganda.
According to scientists with the Acer Climate and Socio-Ecological Research Network, or ACERnet, the potential effects of climate change on maple syrup production could include not only the amount of trees available to tap, but also the health of those trees, the tapping season and the quality of sap. If suitable sugar maple habitat shifts northward, climate-stressed trees left in the area may become more susceptible to threats like pests and disease. And although syrup producers have already seen tapping seasons starting earlier and becoming more unpredictable, more research is needed on whether climate change will affect the sweetness of the sap.