Adapting to Climate Change: Perceptions of Maple Producers in New York and Vermont

  • Diane Kuehn State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Lisa Chase University of Vermont Extension
  • Thomas Sharkey State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Keywords: Adaptability, Climate Change, Demographics, Business Characteristics, Maple Production

Abstract

Maple production is an important part of local food systems in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, where producers rely on maple as a source of income and as the basis for longstanding family and community traditions. Like many other sectors of the food system, maple production is vulnerable to climate change because of its potential impacts on forest type, tree health and vigor, and timing of sap flow. Since maple producers depend on the health of sugar maples for their livelihood and cultural traditions, adapting to changes in maple production will likely be necessary in the future and will require planning. The goal of this study is to assess the perceptions of maple producers and engage them in the development of strategies for adapting to the potential impacts of climate change. The mixed methods research approach for this study included interviews and a survey of maple producers in the Northern Forest region of New York and Vermont. Results indicate that more than half of the maple producers who responded to the survey expressed concerns about climate change, and more than two-thirds had already made or were planning to make modifica­tions to their businesses. Two factors that were identified as most important to respondents when assessing adaptability to climate change are resili­ency of the maple producers’ sugar bush and the producers’ ability to adopt new technologies. These findings are not just relevant for maple production; they have important implications for climate change adaptation of food systems.

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Author Biographies

Diane Kuehn, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Associate Professor, Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry; 1 Forestry Drive, 320 Bray Hall; Syracuse, NY 13210
Lisa Chase, University of Vermont Extension
University of Vermont Extension, Vermont Tourism Research Center
Thomas Sharkey, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Published
2017-09-08
How to Cite
Kuehn, D., Chase, L., & Sharkey, T. (2017). Adapting to Climate Change: Perceptions of Maple Producers in New York and Vermont. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 7(3), 43-65. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2017.073.020