Looking around your woods youÕll see that there are far more trees on the landscape than you have time to measure. The science of forestry has taught us that similar stands (ones that have the same species composition, size classes, productivity, and management history) do not need to undergo a 100% census to get an accurate picture of what is there. Foresters use sampling methods that inventory stands to get an accurate representation of what is in them and the quality of the resource.
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Technological advances by maple equipment manufacturers, continued outreach and education by local, state, federal, and provincial maple organizations, and widespread adoption of new management practices by producers have revolutionized the maple industry over the last 20 years. The design and layout of sap collection systems and advances in vacuum pumps and releasers has resulted in higher per tap sap yields well beyond the old standards. Increased per tap volume has been matched with modern high brix reverse osmosis systems and efficiency gains in evaporators, pushing the economic potential of making maple syrup to new heights. Value-added products, niche marketing and branding, and social media and online platforms, coupled with health conscious and savvy consumers,have altered the retail sales landscape and linked rural maple producers to consumers around the world.
Whether you anticipate tapping in your backyard with a half dozen trees or you wish to begin a bit more aggressively with several hundred taps, the core techniques and methods are the same. This guide will introduce you to basic maple tree identification and then prepare you for the basics of tree tapping, time of tapping and the logistics of getting started in the woods.