Maple Syrup Canadian resource

Mmmmmmmmm.......Maple Syrup! What do you top your pancakes with? If maple syrup isn't one of your toppings than your missing a key ingredient! Maple syrup has been part of the Canadian identity for a very long time. Maple syrup is a completely natural product with no additives. This sugary treat can also prove to be good for your health, as it contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It doesn't just stop there, maple syrup also helps protect your skin, fights inflammatory diseases, and is a healthier alternative to sugar for digestion.

WHAT IS MAPLE SYRUP AND HOW IS IT MADE?

If you don't know what maple syrup is... well maple syrup is a syrup made from various types of sugar maple trees. Two main things in maple syrup are sucrose and water. Making syrup is very difficult as it involves intensive labor, takes a lot of time, and is very messy. Now for the real question...how is it made? The process of maple syrup begins in springtime, the sap is usually collected early March and late April, depending on where the trees are being tapped. The first step is collecting the syrup from the sugar bush, then it goes through the storage tank, which eventually leads to the evaporation which is done in the sugar house. Last but not least, the maple syrup is evaporated again in the evaporator and there you have it! The maple syrup production process in a blink of an eye, but in reality it takes much much longer than that!

TYPES OF MAPLE TREES

There are many species of maple trees and 13 species are native to North America. These 13 species are displayed below in pictures.

Amur Maple

Vine Leaf Maple

Silver Maple

Big Leaf Maple

Sycamore Maple

Norway Maple

Paperback Maple

Hormbeam Maple

Japanese Maple

Tatarian Maple

Hedge Maple

Sugar Maple

EXTRACTION, MANAGEMENT, PRODUCTION...

EXTRACTION AND DEVELOPMENT...

Maple syrup is a North American tradition that has been going on over the years. As it goes on over the years, the technology for extracting maple syrup advances. It all started with just drilling a hole in the tree with a wooden spout which made the sap run straight into a bucket. Next came the metal spouts and spigots. In modern day, commercial producers use a piece of PVC that connects to the tubing and runs into bucket, or if there lucky enough a central piping setup that connects straight to the sugar house. As time goes by, people are coming up with great technology to help make the maple syrup production process easier. With some more new technology discovered by a man named Mr.Thomson , the lives of maple syrup producers can become much easier! He found a programmer that would help him make something extraordinary. He called this the Tap Track Technologies, Inc, best part about his system is that it uses solar battery powered radio units that are attached to the trees to monitor it. The units monitor the vacuum pressure on around half a dozen lines and send that information straight to a smartphone or computer! Isn't that cool? On the computer or smartphone you can see a map of the maple syrup producers property, with pressure levels from each sensor. The system also tells producers when and where there is a leak by text message or email and the system only cost $1 or $2 per tap.

One of the very first ways of tapping trees with wooden spouts and buckets

Next tapping tapping method included metal spouts and spigots.

A part of the sugar bush.

Tap Track Technologies, Inc

Tap Track Technology preview on the phone

MANAGEMENT

Managing maple syrup is a step by step process and the better the management is the more the maple trees will last. Two things that can be done to keep the trees healthy is to mulch and prune. Add a thin layer of mulch (wood, chips, leaves, etc) to protect the tree and reduce the evaporation. Mulch also helps regulate soil surface temperatures, and retain moisture during the summer and fall droughts.Pruning the trees after the leaves have fallen off, which tells the tree is done for the season, you must take of dead branches and make sure there is only one leader. As well as that, during dry weather conditions, newly planted trees must be watered every 7-10 days. The amount of water needed depends on the weather conditions and type of soil. Factors that usually reduce success of seedlings growing are by deer and weeds. A research conducted by the Cornell Sugar Maple Program are finding ways that reduce impact of predators and competition. To better sustain maple trees ,the management of trees is very important, as well as, finding ways to keep trees in a healthy condition.

Here's a video on how to mulch around a tree properly.

PRODUCTION

Canada supplies 85 percent of the world's maple syrup! Quebec produces 72 percent of the world's maple syrup! Isn't that something to be proud of Canadians! Quebec's maple syrup industry contributes 800 million dollars to Canada's GDP. All of the facts above prove that maple syrup is very beneficial economically to Canada. In Canada, maple syrup is made in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Canada exports maple syrup to around 45 different countries, and global demand is on the rise! Canada is the largest producer of maple syrup and in 2014 the exports were worth as much as 310 million dollars, representing 82 percent production. Maple syrup is at a very high demand rate and with a healthy prices could be amazing for a plantation owner. Think about it ... maple syrup sells for $60 per gallon and $2,500 per gallon! While, crude oil sells for $40 per barrel, which means maple syrup is 6x more valuable than oil! The price of maple syrup has had an increase of price from 182 percent since the end of 1980, more than crude oil and gold !The Canadian maple syrup company is flourishing as time passes. Even though the price to make a gallon of maple syrup is $11.50 which is quite high. If Canada can find more cost efficient ways to make maple syrup, the industry can be even more beneficial.

The chart above shows a graph of estimated maple syrup production over 1840 to 2020. As you can see , over the years Canada has improved the amount of maple syrup and has left America way behind. This makes Canadian maple syrup industries more profitable than American maple industries making the Canadian economy stronger.

What's Affecting the Maple Syrup Industries?

Climate change is one of the biggest factors affecting maple syrup. Increased summer and winters temperatures will affect the southern portion as it will lower the number of sap flow days. For maple producers in the central regions in the sugar maple range, there will be a entire shift of the season early in the year. The climate change will also reduce the geographical range, the area that will be impacted is the Canadian Shield, where thin, rocky, and acidic soils might limit the growth of maple trees. The new combinations in precipitation and temperatures are affecting the growth of maple trees. The climate change also causes ice storms which directly affect maple tree forests.Climate change also causes acid rain which is mainly harmful to trees and lakes. Acid rain damages the tree by weakening the leaves, limiting the nutrients, or completely poisoning the tree with toxic substances released by the soil. Acid rain is created by nitrogen oxides created through the burning of coal and other fossil fuels. We have really little information on how climate change affects the ecosystem supporting sugar maple trees which makes climate change even more dangerous.

A map explaining the change in temperature in Canada

To prevent climate change from hurting the sugar maple trees you have to reach the root of the problem, which is climate change! So, preventing climate change will help keep the maple syrup industry more sustainable. Some ways you can prevent climate change is by: making your lifestyle more greener, use renewable energy, use energy efficient appliances, eat less meat, buy better bulbs, drive fuel efficient vehicles, reduce your houses carbon footage. To prevent acid rain from happening a great way is to create energy without the use of fossil fuels, instead use renewable sources like wind and solar power. In general, using alternative and renewable ways that prevent climate change will change the impact it is putting on the maple trees.

Just like humans, trees get sick too! Some diseases that maple trees go through are: maple wilt, anthracnose, tar spot, sap streak,phllosticta. Some of the best ways to prevent these diseases is to keep your trees healthy so they never develop these diseases. Proper tree health starts with proper and regular watering, fertilizing every year, keeping the year around maple trees clean, and seeking help every time you notice a problem occurring.

Maple wilt is one of the most common diseases. The disease is created through fungi which is called Verticillium albo-atrum or Verticillium dahliae, which are found in the soil. This is a very serious disease found in trees that could lead to the death of an established tree. The process of this disease starts in the roots and works its way up into the branches and causes big limbs to start dying back in the leaves. Unfortunately, there isn't a prevention method for this disease, but to stop it from spreading you must cut down the tree infected by it.

Another common disease in trees is tar spots, which is caused by two different types of fungi called R. punctatum or Rhytisma acerinum. This disease happens when wet weather is present for very long periods of time and the fungi is able to take hold, and the tar spots prevent the leaves from drying.There isn't any prevention methods from tar spots as it is a generally harmless disease.

The sapstreak is a fatal fungal disease that attacks the wood and discolors it. This diseases causes foliage at the crown of the tree to become smaller and bald spots usually appear. This disease usually appears when a tree is cut down the radiation pattern can be seen in the lower part of the tree. To prevent this from happening once you see the problem cut the tree down immediately and remove it,because insects can spread the disease.

phyllosticta is another disease that comes from another fungi called phyllosticta minima which causes tan or brown spots on leaves which later build holes in the leaves. This disease gets the chance to spread in damp weather conditions. To prevent this raking your leaves every August is very important to ensure the disease doesn't spread.

SUSTAINABILITY OF MAPLE SYRUP

Sustaining maple syrup is a step by step process and much has to be changed to keep it going. The issue of climate change has to be solved or the frequency has to be lowered. You have to protect the maple trees from diseases that occur on them. To keep the industry more sustainable the government needs to keep investing in the industry. As the government needs to keep opening new forest area for maple production, providing industries with sustainable forest management which provides long-term health of forests, and funding organizations so they can be competitive while keeping sustainable maple tree forest running. Industries must make sure they're using the right methods to tap trees that don't harm the health of the trees. To be sustainable maple syrup producers should follow the unofficial "tapping guidelines" which are a traditional set of practices for sap collection created over time. In conclusion, to have sustainable maple syrup the general health of maple trees is very important, and working towards making it better is what makes maple syrup sustainable.

maple syrup being used to top pancakes

Maple syrup is a great resource for Canada and can be used in many ways. Maple syrup can be used in various recipes including dressings, glazes, and baked recipes. There is also other maple products such as: maple taffy on snow, hard sugar candy, granulated maple sugar, maple butter, soft sugar candy. Next time your at the supermarket, make sure you try some maple syrup! You won't regret it!

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