Impact of climate change on maple syrup production in Quebec

Maple syrup production is an important economic activity in northeastern North America, and particularly in Quebec, where more than 90% of Canadian production and about 70% of world production takes place. Because the productivity of maple stands is largely dependent on climate, maple production is vulnerable to climate change. With spring arriving earlier, Quebec producers must begin tapping and sap harvesting operations earlier to avoid yield losses. The southernmost regions of Quebec may experience a greater proportion of low production years, mainly because of shorter seasons. In addition, the regions could be affected by an increase in insect outbreaks and drought events, which would further affect maple health and decrease syrup yields. Several adaptive measures exist to address these potential challenges. According to a recent survey, Quebec maple syrup producers seem willing to implement such measures in the future, if they are not already doing so. Examples of adaptation measures include consulting weather forecasting sites, tapping early (in January, for example) and maintaining greater biodiversity within maple stands to improve their resilience to drought and pests.

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