Managing for delicious ecosystem service under climate change: can United States sugar maple (Acer saccharum) syrup production be maintained in a warming climate?
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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management. 13(2): 40-52.
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) is a highly valued tree in United States (US) and Canada, and its sap when collected from taps and concentrated, makes a delicious syrup. Understanding how this resource may be impacted by climate change and other threats is essential to continue management for maple syrup into the future. Here, we evaluate the current distribution of maple syrup production across twenty-three states within the US and estimate the current potential sugar maple resource based on tree inventory data. We model and project the potential habitat responses of sugar maple using a species distribution model with climate change under two future General Circulation Models (GCM) and emission scenarios and three time periods (2040, 2070, 2100). Our results show that under GFDL-A1Fi (high CO2 emissions), sugar maple habitat is projected to decline (mean ratio of future habitat to current habitat per state = 0.46, sd ± 0.33), which could lead to reduced maple syrup production per tree and nearly 5 million additional taps required to maintain current projection levels. If global emissions are reduced and follow a lower trajectory of warming (under PCM-B1), then habitat for the species may be maintained but would still require management intervention. Finally, our results point to regions, particularly along the northern tier, where both climate change impacts and currently developing sugar maple habitat may signify viable opportunities to increase maple syrup production.
KeywordsMaple syrup; climate change; sugar maple (Acer saccharum); ecosystem services; Eastern United States
Matthews, Stephen N.; Iverson, Louis R. 2017. Managing for delicious ecosystem service under climate change: can United States sugar maple (Acer saccharum) syrup production be maintained in a warming climate? International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management. 13(2): 40-52. https://doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2017.1285815.