After the warmest January on record, maple syrup producers in Ohio were surprised to have recently discovered premature maple tree buds. Budding of maples at this early date is unprecedented and means that, for the first time in living memory, there will be little or no maple syrup from the trees of Northeastern Ohio this year.
"My family has been making maple syrup on our Trumbull County farm since just after the civil war, and it is abundantly clear to us that something is dreadfully wrong in the maple woodlots here," said Tony
Logan, an Ohio resident. Tony's brother, Joe Logan, a fifth-generation family farmer, maple sugar producer, and president of the Ohio Farmers Union agrees: "This warming may soon impair the ability of the farmers in this state to make a living from what they have been doing for over a hundred years." Ohio is presently the fifth-largest producer of maple syrup in the country. Preliminary discussions with other maple syrup producers in the area confirm that the premature maple budding phenomenon is an area-wide concern.
The shocking thing about this story is that it is not about melting glaciers in faraway Alaska or snow melt at the North Pole, but about the impact of global warming on a very American rite of spring. "The gathering of maple sap is how we all here know the season is upon us," says Joe Logan. "This is a cruel hoax on the trees and us." A budding maple tree in early February is bad news for the farmer -- and for anyone who enjoys delicious "made in America" maple syrup on their pancakes. Imminent change is upon us -- not just in Ohio and Alaska, but at breakfast tables all across the United States.