Local experts say climate change is squeezing one of Canada’s most valuable exports.
Gary Gore, who has been cutting maple trees for over 30 years at Gore’s Maple Syrup in Harrowsmith, Ontario, has seen changes in the way maple syrup is made over the years. ..
“It’s a little cold and the sap doesn’t flow when it comes out of the north. It’s like people … I don’t like the north wind,” Gore said.
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For Gore, it’s the timing of the sap harvest that’s changing, and according to Queen’s University professor Warren Mabby, it’s climate change that’s playing at this classic Canadian sweet spot.
“On cool or cold nights when we sink below zero, we have some frost, then we have a nice warm sunny day,” says Mabby at the ideal temperature for a hearty sap yield. Said.
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He said this rapid freezing / thawing process in spring creates a pumping effect in trees that push out more sap. However, as spring gets warmer, the conditions are met less often, affecting maple tree production, he says.
“These trees are really irreplaceable to the people we work with,” Mabby said.
Gore said that as the years went by, unusually early sapping seasons became more common.
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He said there were good and bad years, but warming definitely made a difference in his work.
“We need to make sure it’s been tapped by the second week of February, otherwise we’ll miss the first run,” Gorr added.
According to Mabby, that’s not all bad news.
He said the process is hurt further south, but progressive warming may open up opportunities to collect sap further north. This is an opportunity to keep Canada’s syrup empire a little sweeter.
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Queen’s University experts talk about climate change affecting maple syrup production-Kingston
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