Birch Syrup Production to Increase the Long-Term Economic Sustainability of Maple Syrup Production in the Northern Forest
Maple syrup production addresses many key social, economic, and ecological challenges of the Northern Forest by generating income, jobs, and economic opportunities that support families, farms, communities, and businesses and by maintaining the traditional working landscape through an ecologically sustainable use of forest resources. The ability of maple production to provide these benefits is currently threatened, as producers face increasing challenges to maintaining profitable, economically sustainable operations due to rapidly rising production costs. It is critical to find ecologically sustainable ways to increase the profitability of maple operations in order to ensure its long-term economic sustainability in the Northern Forest region.
The diversification of existing operations to include production of birch syrup may be a practical way to achieve these outcomes. It would require modest investments, as it would use existing equipment and an available forest resource, and could generate large revenues, as pure birch syrup has high economic value. Thus, the overall goal of this project is to determine if production of birch syrup can increase the profitability and economic sustainability of existing maple operations.
To accomplish this, NSRC researchers will determine the quantity of syrup that can be produced annually from birch trees using modern equipment and use cost-benefit analyses to calculate the long-term net economic gains of birch production in existing operations with varying birch resource levels. Researchers will evaluate whether this practice can increase the economic sustainability of existing operations and will create a spreadsheet tool producers can use to determine whether adding birch production will increase their operation's profitability.