While maple syrup can look and taste the same, it can come from forests that are managed in dramatically different ways. Park-like maple monocultures may appeal to our tidy aesthetic and increase sap production over the short-term, but they support relatively low numbers of birds and bird species. In contrast, biologically and structurally diverse sugarbushes offer great places for birds to forage, find cover, and raise their young. They are also likely to have better long-term sap production, fewer forest health problems, and be better able to adapt to the stresses of climate change.
The Bird-Friendly Maple Project is ready to give you and maple-lovers everywhere a way to support and promote sugarbush management that’s good for Vermont’s birds, forests, and forest-based economy. The project is building on the national award-winning Foresters for the Birds partnership between Audubon Vermont biologists and Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation foresters and expanding to include a new partner: leaders from the Vermont maple industry that includes the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association.
Look for the label. To recognize and support participating maple producers for their good work, look for maple syrup containers with the label indicating the syrup was produced in a Bird-Friendly forest habitat. Maple sugarbushes are inherently good for birds, but forests that are intentionally managed with birds in mind are even better!
Questions? Contact Audubon Conservation Biologist, Steve Hagenbuch.
The Bird-Friendly Maple Project is funded in-part by the Vermont Community Foundation and the Canaday Foundation. Read more about our partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation.