Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

What are the impacts of climate change on maple syrup production and can we manage for them?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 | 10:30 am
134 Morrill Science Center, UMass Amherst
Joshua Rapp, UMass Amherst and Selena Ahmed, Montana State University

The production of maple syrup is strongly tied to climate since sap flows only when temperatures fluctuate around freezing. Climate change will likely impact the production of maple syrup and the livelihoods on which this depends. ACERnet (Acer Climate and Socio-Ecological Research Network) is filling in knowledge gaps in how climate influences total sap flow and sap quality over the entire tapping season and in how maple producers are responding to climate change. This seminar will report on how sap flow, sugar content, and secondary chemistry is influenced by climate variability at sites across sugar maple’s distribution, and on how maple producers are and expect to respond to changing climate and market conditions.

Joshua Rapp is a forest ecologist specializing in sugar maple ecology, with interests in how climate and endogenous cycles such as masting influence resource dynamics in trees. His research often links these resource dynamics to the benefits humans derive from forests and their management. He earned a PhD in biology from Wake Forest University and has held postdoctoral appointments at Harvard University, Tufts University, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Selena Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University and co-founder of the Food and Health Lab ( She examines sustainability of food systems from production through consumption with the goal of identifying evidence-based practices that advance ecological and societal wellbeing. Selena has carried out food systems research in biodiversity-rich communities in China, India, Morocco, Venezuela, Belize, the Dominican Republic, and the United States. Follow her research explorations at @msufoodandhealthlab