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Maple syrup production is unique:
Landowners can generate an income while maintaining a forest cover which supports critical habitat for countless species.  

Many of these forests contain a diversity of trees and include live and dead standing trees that provide bird-friendly habitat. For most of the year, maple forests are undisturbed but during a few months of late winter and early spring landowners tap their trees to collect maple sap to convert it into maple syrup that can be used on pancakes as well as a healthier substitute sweetener for human consumption. The challenge that landowners have is ensuring they maintain a balance between providing habitat for local and migratory birds and other wildlife while maintaining production of maple syrup. This forest product can provide a healthy option for human health, the local economy as well as forest ecosystems.  

Photo by Daniel Cadieux

Healthy forests

Birds & Maple Trees

require the same thing: 

A  family nests in a branches of a maple tree

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird 

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  • Many bird species are in grave danger - there as has been a sustained decline of North American bird populations. Since 1970, nearly three billion birds have disappeared. 

  • Many of the Audubon's priority birds live in the same forest ecosystem as maple trees, including the:

    • Hooded Warbler

    • Summer Tanager

    • Golden-Winged Warbler 

    • Scarlet Tanager

    • Wood Thrush

    • Summer Tanager

    • Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  • Not all sugar bushes, i.e. groups of maple trees, are equal. Some can be managed to be especially "bird friendly" an support greater numbers and diversity of species.

    • Experts have found that sugar bushes that contain at least 25 percent nonmaple trees support a greater diversity and abundance of birds than stands growing only maples. 

  • Birds in turn provide insect control.

    • A University of Vermont study found that sugar bushes with a bird-friendly ratio of tree diversity experienced insect outbreaks that were significantly shorter and less intense than in maple monocultures.​

Did you know?

  • The Indiana is part of the Mississippi Flyway, a migratory super-highway? Not only do lakes and forested areas serve as critical habitats for year-round species, they are highly imporant rest-stops for migratory birds.

  • The Audubon Society notes that:

    • Nearly half of the bird species and up to forty percent of the waterfowl of North America spend part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway. 

    • More than 325 bird species make a roundtrip between their breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States to wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and in Central and South America each year.

  • Currently, 21 percent  of Indiana's total land area (4.7 million acres) is forested. 83.22 percent of this land is privately owned.

  • At the time of Eurpean settlement, it is estimated that over 90 percent of the state was forested. 

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Photo by Daniel Cadieux

Healthy forests

Birds & Maple Trees

require the same thing: 

A  family nests in a branches of a maple tree

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird 

The Scarlet Tanager

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The rose-breasted Grosbeak

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The Cerulean warbler

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The eastern screetch owl