After a decadeslong study, scientists are sounding the alarm that man-made climate change will snatch the maple syrup from your breakfast table.
What did the study find?
According to the study, sugar maple trees found in eastern North American forests will be unable to survive the impending hot and dry climate caused by man-made climate change.
Those consequences will eventually lead to our kitchen tables as the trees will cease to produce maple syrup. Oddly enough, the study also said the drying trees will be unable to produce stunning autumn colors, another side-effect of man-made climate change on the trees.
According to Newsweek, the study was led by University of Michigan ecology professor Inés Ibáñez. The findings were published in the scientific journal, Ecology, last Wednesday.
The study began in 1994 and ended in 2013. It examined 1,016 trees in four Michigan locations.
What was the study searching for?
Newsweek reports the study was searching for two things: the effects of a warm and dry climate caused by global warming on the trees and whether excess soil nitrogen would help curb climate change effects.
In 1994, the team of researchers began adding extra nitrogen to the trees to simulate how they would respond to global warming by the year 2100. They hoped the excess soil nutrients would “offset” the effects of global warming.
More from Newsweek:
But the results proved worrisome for the famous trees. According to the scenarios the researchers used, if the climate remains the same as it is now, tree growth would not be adversely affected, the study found. But if the changes are more extreme, Ibáñez said, "then growth rates are going to go down quite a bit for this species."
Climate change will increase the demand for water, and as less water is available, the tree growth will decrease. And those kind of extreme changes are exactly what may come to pass.
Indeed, Science magazine noted that no matter how many nutrients might be in the soil, warm and dry weather — which translates to very low soil water content — will eventually kill the trees.
The study conducted two scenarios to test this. First, they tested the effects of a 1 degree Celsius temperature increase over the next century. Then they tested the effects of a 5 degree Celsius temperature increase with 40 percent less rainfall over the summer.
Both scenarios stunted tree and forest growth, while the second stopped it completely. The scientists believe the sugar maple will go extinct if the second scenario becomes reality.