Adaptability of Maple Producers to Climate Change

Project Title: 

Adaptability of Maple Producers to Climate Change

Award Year: 
2013
Diane
Kuehn
SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry
Co-Principal Investigator(s): 
Lisa Chase
University of Vermont Extension
Collaborator(s): 
Helen Thomas
New York State Maple Producers Association
Matthew Gordon
Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association

The Northern Forest region of Vermont and New York is home to an estimated 1,200 commercial maple producers who rely on maple production as a source of income and as the basis for longstanding family and community traditions. Declines in maple production are projected, however, due to climate change and its potential impacts on forest type (from maple to oak-hickory-pine) and on tree health and vigor. Because maple producers depend on the health of sugar maples for their livelihood and cultural traditions, adapting to declines in maple production will likely be necessary in the future and will require planning.

NSRC researchers will engage maple producers in the development of strategies that help them plan for and adapt to the potential impacts of climate change. Researchers will interview and survey maple producers in New York and Vermont. Interviews will provide information about producers’ knowledge and perceptions of climate change; the connections between maple production and family, community, and industry; and the reliance of producers on maple production as a source of income. A mail survey will gather information to assess producers’ abilities to adapt to change and to identify factors that influence this adaptability.

With the assistance of producer associations, researchers will engage producers in a focus group session to identify strategies that help them plan for and adapt to change. Strategies will help to sustain this traditional Northern Forest industry of maple production for as long as possible into the future.