Interesting article in the Ithaca times 3/5/2013, quoting Brian Chabot of Cornell. Prior to reading this, I had a different viewpoint formed from information presented at other forums I’ve attended (such as the native Plant Symposium) when contemplating climate change and its affect on native plants, in particular sugar maple. Hypothesis was, not only would the season start earlier & earlier, but maple trees themselves would retreat north as New York warmed up. Maybe there would be microsystem pockets (here on the north slope of the valley for sure,we figured!) where maples remained and could be tapped. In fact, an 11/10/2010 article by the man himself suggested PA would loose syrup production by 2100.
Instead, the Ithaca Times article reads:
“We’ve looked into both issues,” said the ecology professor. “We used four different climate models to project what weather would be like from day-to-day for the next hundred years. We looked for periods when the sap would run.” Chabot and his research group found that instead of disappearing, the sap run will gradually “move closer to Christmas,” he said. “We’ll be tapping in January a hundred years from now.”
All the climate models were in general agreement. They showed that in parts of New York state that are “on the warm side” for maple production — which includes Ithaca and the Southern Tier — a day or two of sap season might be lost over the next century, but that in cooler parts of the state the season might actually lengthen. The input data for this modelling exercise came from 10,000 locations around the northeast United States.”
Although I have had to readjust some ideas about what the future may hold for our little plot of northern mesic forest, my guiding life philosophy remains unaltered. As expressed so well by the great Dr. Who:
Never be certain of anything. It’s a sign of weakness.