Maple syrup to be sapped by climate change

Maple syrup is not a climate-proof food.

Another one bites the dust. Every week we learn of the predicted disappearance of another one of our favorite foods at the hands of climate change. We previously covered the threat to our super crop, corn. Next was chocolate. Our favorite libations are also on the chopping block, as beer and coffee are almost sure to soar in price. Now, a further blow to those of us with a sweet tooth – maple syrup may one day go the way of the dodo.

Sugar maple trees are bound to struggle with the warmer weather and dryer climate. We had hoped that the increase of nitrogen (brought on by air pollution) in forest soils would provide the boost maples need to weather impending warming, but a new study found that that’s simply wishful thinking. Further tests on forested land in Michigan show the inevitable danger to maple trees. The real downer: the best-case scenario (in which carbon dioxide emissions decline) still shows a decline in tree growth. And in the worst-case scenario, maple trees will disappear.

A whopping 71% of the world’s maple syrup is produced by our  neighbors to the north. The maple industry boosts Canada’s economy by $439.7 million. The decline in maple syrup is sure to erode local economies and employment rates as well, as Vermont alone produces 5.5% of the global syrup supply. Our favorite natural sweetener is likely to cost more and to hurt growing areas on two fronts: jobs and land values.

So we have to ask, how climate-resistant is your job? Other industries are predicted to grow despite warming’s effect on the general economy. The maple syrup industry is not one of them. It’s also time to get ahold of your food budget. We can only plan ahead to leave room in our budget for the inevitable increase to our food costs. Have you checked out our Budget Bookmark yet? Download your own here.

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