Non-Timber Forest Products, Maple Syrup and Climate Change

Brenda Lee Murphy, Annette Rene Chretien, Laura Jayne Brown


Non-timber forest products (NTFP), including maple syrup, are an important source of income in rural and remote spaces. NTFPs also contribute to other aspects of rural wellbeing including the provision of environmental services and opportunities for the development and maintenance of social capital and aesthetic/spiritual values. NFTPs are thought to be threatened by climate change, yet little research has been undertaken to assess the potential impacts and adaptive capacity of affected Canadian rural spaces.
Maple syrup is one of Canada's most important NTFPs and an important resource in central Canada and Atlantic rural spaces. However, virtually no research has assessed the value of maple syrup as an NTFP, or the potential impact of climate change. This paper, which is part of a larger on-going study, will report on survey work that assessed perceptions of institutional contexts, climatic variability, climate change risk, and resiliency within the maple syrup industry. The results will be of interest to decision-makers in many areas including the maple syrup industry, Canadian rural policy and climate change policy. Drawing from the survey work and broader study findings, the paper identifies existing capabilities and challenges for dealing with climate change and outlines potential opportunities to increase the adaptive capacity of the maple syrup industry and rural spaces.

Keywords: maple syrup, climate change, policy, adaptation, Canada, Ontario

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.