Perceptions of U.S. and Canadian maple syrup producers toward climate change, its impacts, and potential adaptation measures
Perkins, Timothy D.
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The production of maple syrup is an important cultural and economic activity directly related to the climate of northeastern North America. As a result, there are signs that climate change could have negative impacts on maple syrup production in the next decades, particularly for regions located at the southern margins of the sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) range. The purpose of this survey study is to present the beliefs and opinions of maple syrup producers of Canada (N = 241) and the U.S. (N = 113) on climate change in general, its impacts on sugar maple health and maple syrup production, and potential adaptation measures. Using conditional inference classification trees, we examined how the socio-economic profile of respondents and the geographic location and size of respondents’ sugar bushes shaped the responses of survey participants. While a majority (75%) of respondents are confident that the average temperature on Earth is increasing, less than half (46%) believe that climate change will have negative impacts on maple syrup yield in the next 30 years. Political view was a significant predictor of these results, with respondents at the right right and center-right of the political spectrum being less likely to believe in climate change and less likely to anticipate negative effects of climate change on maple syrup production. In addition, 77% of the participants indicated an interest in adopting adaptation strategies if those could increase maple syrup production. This interest was greater for respondents using vacuum tubing for sap collection than other collection methods. However, for many respondents (particularly in Canada), lack of information was identified as a constraint limiting adaptation to climate change.