<Ojibwe Lifeway: Maple Sugaring and Birch Bark Harvesting (“ziigwan”-spring)

INVESTIGATE THE SCIENCE

A warming climate means changes in forests of Wisconsin and the Ceded territories are lands transferred from tribes to the federal covernment by treaty. Ceded Territory of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, especially for species like paper birch that is already living at the southern limit of its A geographical area where an animal normally lives range. Changes in the tree species that make up a forest can affect the sustainability of some wildlife species. Forests provide a wide range of environmental, economic, and social benefits. Warming climate will affect the composition of the trees species that make up forests mean changes for Northern Wisconsin’s and the Ceded Territories most important economic sectors: logging, recreation, and agriculture. Now that you have learned about the importance of the paper birch and sugar maple to the Ojibwe and explored Evidence that you can see, feel, or experience based on what you observe around you. place-based evidence of how climate change is affecting the region's forests, it is time investigate what scientific research is telling us about how the climate is changing. Use the Climate Change Toolkit to investigate the science! Use the Investigate the Science Activity Guide to focus your explorations.

CLIMATE CHANGE TOOLKIT

Browse this toolkit to find maps showing historic and projected climate trends for key environment variables affecting the sustainability of sugar maple and paper birch. Choose the geographical area you are interested in investigating and explore the climate change maps and tools.
Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Climate Change Historic Trends and Future Projections

Wisconsin’s Climate Change Historic Trends and Future Projections
This slide show tool lets you to investigate actual changes in climate variables that have already occurred between 1950-2006, and explore how these variables are expected to change based on climate models from 1980-2055.

Start by establishing a “baseline” for your investigations by researching actual changes in climate that have been documented by reviewing each of the “historic trends”.

Next compare at the “future projections” for each of the environmental variables. The projections on these maps are based on a scenario where in the future our society will continued to use fossil fuels at about the same rate as we do today.

How has Wisconsin’s climate changed in the past?

CLUE: From 1950 to 2006, the average annual temperature in Wisconsin warmed about 1.1 degrees F. The northwestern part of Wisconsin warmed a bit more than the rest of the state. Winter temperatures have risen most significantly. Statewide, winter temperatures have increased 2.5°F. In northwestern Wisconsin the increase has been even greater at 3.5-4.5°F. Summer and autumn temperatures in Wisconsin have changed the least.

Precipitation patterns have also changed. Wisconsin as a whole has become wetter. From 1950 to2006, Wisconsin’s annual precipitation increased by 3.1 inches. Most of the increase has been concentrated in southern and western Wisconsin. By the end of this 57-year period, the increase in this part of Wisconsin has ranged from + 3 to +7 inches per year. Northern Wisconsin has become drier, annually averaging 1-2 inches less precipitation over that period.

Wisconsin Climate Change Time Traveler - What’s the future for Wisconsin’s climate?

Wisconsin Climate Change Time Traveler - What’s the future for Wisconsin’s climate?
The Wisconsin Climate Time Traveler Mapping Tool lets you manipulate climate change variables, time periods, and a variety of climate “scenarios” to investigate climate impacts under these climate futures:
  • A2 Scenario- This model is characterized by a future with intensive fossil fuel use and high carbon emissions, higher than today’s rate.
  • A1B Scenario- This model uses a middle level rate of fossil fuel use where future carbon emissions remain similar to what we are experiencing today.
  • B1 Scenario- This model is characterized by a future with lower fossil fuel use and lower carbon emissions than today’s rates.
Using this tool, you can explore how climate trends may affect specific climate variables such as temperature, precipitation, temperatures extremes, and days over 90-degrees under each climate scenario.

Scientists have developed over 40 climate change scenarios of what the climate might be like in the future based on possible future levels of greenhouse gas pollution, fossil fuel use, and other driving forces.

What do future projections of climate change suggest for Wisconsin’s environment, economies, and people?

CLUE: Analyze potential climate change impacts under each of these scenarios on the key environmental variables and habitat conditions that are critical to the sustainability of plants, animals that support cultural and economic practices important to our communities.
Ceded Territory of the lake superior ojibwe

INVESTIGATE CEDED TERRITORY CLIMATE CHANGE

The maps in this section were created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Open this section of the Climate Change Toolkit to discover how climate may be changing within the Ceded territories are lands transferred from tribes to the federal covernment by treaty.Ceded Territory of the Lake Superior Ojibwe and Upper Great Lakes.

Investigate maps that show historic climate trends that have been already been documented. Discover how climate variables like temperature and precipitation are projected to change. All climate projection maps are based on the A1B scenario which projects a climate future where the rate of fossil fuel use and carbon emissions remain similar to what we are experiencing today.

By Treaty with the US government, the Ojibwe people retain rights to hunt, fish, and gather in the Ceded Territory. Sustainability of plant and animals are important to maintaining Treaty Rights and Ojibwe cultural practices.

How could climate change affect the sustainability of species that are essential to supporting Treaty Rights and Ojibwe cultural practices? How could these changes in climate affect the cultural practices you enjoy, or people and economies?

TIP: Tip on using NASA Climate Maps
Each NASA climate map uses a different range of variables and colors to show the range of change. Read each map legend carefully to understand the range of variables that each color represents.

NASA historic climate maps and climate project maps cover slightly different time periods than other maps in the toolkit. NASA maps are based on the A2 climate scenario which projects a moderate rate of C02 increase.

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL MEAN DAILY TEMPERATURE

PROJECTED CHANGES IN MEAN ANNUAL TEMPERTURE AVERAGE (TAVG)

Average annual mean temperatures across the Ceded Territory are expected to increase between 3-4° F by 2045. Warming is expected throughout the region, but the greatest increase in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Look at the seasonal maps. Across the region, the warming is expected across all seasons, but is projected to be most significant during summer, fall and winter seasons.

Warmer winters mean more precipitation falling as rain or ice rather than snow, and less ice cover on lakes.

How would warming temperatures affect the sustainability of species and cultural activities that depend on cool temperate summers and cold snowy winters?

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL PRECIPITATION (1980-2010)

HISTORIC CHANGE IN ANNUAL PRECIPITATION

Recorded trends in precipitation (falling as rain and snow) varied greatly across the Ceded Territory. The northern and western parts of the region tended to be drier, with some counties experiencing a decrease of as much as 6.5-inches in annual precipitation during this period.

Other counties in the south and east received as much as 8- inches more annual precipitation over the same time. Increased precipitation can saturate soils leading to flooding.

Drought is closely tied to precipitation and temperature. Compare this map with the Historic Annual Temperature seasonal maps. Which areas experienced higher temperatures and lower precipitation leading to drought conditions?

CEDED TERRITORY CLIMATE CHANGE TIME TRAVELER

What’s the Ceded Territory’s Climate Future?
Climate Change Projections (1995-2045)

PROJECTED CHANGES IN MEAN ANNUAL TEMPERTURE AVERAGE (TAVG)

Average annual mean temperatures across the Ceded Territory are expected to increase between 3-4° F by 2045. Warming is expected throughout the region, but the greatest increase in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Look at the seasonal maps. Across the region, the warming is expected across all seasons, but is projected to be most significant during summer, fall and winter seasons.

Warmer winters mean more precipitation falling as rain or ice rather than snow, and less ice cover on lakes.

How would warming temperatures affect the sustainability of species and cultural activities that depend on cool temperate summers and cold snowy winters?
PROJECTED CHANGE IN FREQUENCY OF VERY HOT DAYS

By 2045, the frequency of very hot days above 90° F is expected to increase across the region. The greatest change is projected in northwest Wisconsin and northern Minnesota where the frequency of very hot days may increase by 13 days.

Temperature is closely tied to drought. High temperatures causes stress on plants, animals, and people.
PROJECTED CHANGE IN FREQUENCY OF VERY COLD DAYS

Winter is expected to be warmer by mid-century with the frequency of very cold days (below 0° F) decreasing throughout the Ceded Territory. The greatest decrease is projected to occur in northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota where the frequency of very cold days is expected to decrease by 9 to 11 days.

Cold days are needed for many cultural activities including maple syrup production, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing. The change in the frequency of cold days is projected to be less of an impact in the eastern section of the Ceded Territory.
United States
How could these changes in climate impact the sustainability of sugar maple, paper birch, and other tree species?

Climate Variables Affecting the Sustainability of Sugar Maple and Paper Birch
(these trends are based on the A1B Scenario)

Temperature

Temperature
Overall, Wisconsin is projected to warm by 4-9°F by the middle of this century. Northern Wisconsin is projected to warm the most. The warming is projected to be largest in winter, with projected increases of 5-11°F by the mid-21st century across Wisconsin, with the greatest warming across northwest Wisconsin. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: Rising summer temperatures means more than just hot weather. Higher temperatures mean greater loss of soil moisture through The process where water becomes vapor and enters the atmosphere evaporation and The loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration which the loss of water from the plants through their leaves into the atmosphere evapotranspiration; create drought conditions, increased chance of fire, and greater pest outbreaks.

Shorter, warmer winters can negatively affect the flow of maple sap, which is boiled down to make syrup. Sap flow is controlled by alternating freezing and thawing cycles in the late winter. The best conditions for sugaring are cool nights, just below freezing, and fairly warm days, in the upper 40s °F. This temperature change causes shifts in pressure outside the tree that send sap flowing throughout the tree. When a small hole is tapped into the tree, some of that sap will flow out and can be collected to make maple syrup.

Even under a low carbon emissions climate scenarios with moderate climate warming, models suggest that only 42% of the suitable habitat we now have for paper birch and 62% of sugar maple will remain in Wisconsin. Under a high carbon emission model resulting in greater warming, paper birch would become extinct in Wisconsin. sugar maple would be limited to suitable sites in northern Wisconsin.

These maps show the potential habitat change for sugar maple and paper birch using two different climate models and two future scenarios for carbon emissions. The models are called the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) and the Hadley Climate Model (Had). The “low” model refers to a future where carbon emissions remain low, the “high” model refers to a future where the emission of carbon into the atmosphere remains at today’s level or higher.

Why use different models? Because we do not know for certain what the future level of carbon emissions might be. This will be determined by human actions and policies. By studying different models, we can understand the range of options that might occur.

The suitable habitat that exists today for sugar maple and paper birch is shown in the topmost maps labeled “Modeled Current.” Darker colors on the map indicate greater abundance of suitable habitat for each species.

Compare what happens to amount of suitable habitat for sugar maple and paper birch we have today and what the “PCM-Low” model projects may occur to occur under the “Had-High” climate model. Click here to view tutorials on climate modeling and climate change impacts on our forests.

Longer Growing Season

Longer Growing Season
Plant scientists have documented a northward shift in Wisconsin’s A geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions. growing zones. The growing season has become between 1-3 weeks longer in the central and northern portions of Wisconsin. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: Longer growing periods could mean greater growth and productivity—as long as there is enough moisture and nutrients. As trees will need more moisture from the soil, over a longer growing period caused by warmer temperatures, the amount of water they use through The loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration which the loss of water from the plants through their leaves into the atmosphere evapotranspiration will increase. This will reduce the amount of moisture available in the soil which would limit growth or possibly cause plant die off if there is not enough rain. A longer growing season will benefit some tree species and encourage new tree establish themselves here. Other trees not adapted to higher temperatures and less soil moisture will decline or may be lost. The subarctic, evergreen forest dominated by coniferous trees such as spruce, fir, and pine. Boreal species, like paper birch, may not be able to sustainable in Wisconsin under these conditions.

Changing Precipitation

Changing Precipitation
Most climate models project that northern Wisconsin will experience an increase in late winter and early spring precipitation, but a trend toward less rain in late summer and early autumn. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: The decrease in summer rain, combined with the added amount of The loss of water from the soil both by evaporation and by transpiration which the loss of water from the plants through their leaves into the atmosphere> evapotranspiration by plant caused by increased temperatures, will decrease soil moisture later in the growing season. Sugar maple, which prefers mesic sites, may be stressed. The loss of soil moisture in late summer could stress paper birch growing on drier sites, making them more susceptible to insect infestations from pests such as the bronze birch borer and die back. Containing a moderate, balanced supply of moisture </span><span class="term">mesic</span></span> sites, may be stressed. The loss of soil moisture in late summer could stress Paper Birch growing on drier sites, making them more susceptible to insect infestations from pests such as the bronze birch borer and die back.</body></html>

Reduced Snow and Ice Cover

Reduced Snow and Ice Cover
Winter precipitation is expected to increase by 25% by 2050, with more falling as freezing rain due to increased winter temperatures. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: Longer periods of warmer winter weather, either due to early spring warm-up or warmer late falls, would mean less snow cover. Winter temperatures are expected to warm causing more precipitation to fall as rain. Maple trees rely on snowpack during this time to protect their roots from freezing.

Increased Storm Events

Increased Storm Events
Usually heavy rainfall events of 2 or more inches of rain are recorded about 12 times per decade in Wisconsin. By the mid-21st century, Wisconsin may receive 2-3 times more of these extreme rainfall events per decade, or roughly a 25% increase in their frequency. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: Trees like sugar maples are less flexible and tend to be affected more by storm and wind damage because their limbs are more susceptible to breakage than more flexible species like birches and pines. In a forest, the loss of trees due to storm damage can open the canopy area and allow more in sunlight. This can provide openings for sun loving species such as paper birch to get established.

Ice storms are expected to increase due to more winter precipitation falling as rain, rather than snow. Paper birch has low to average resistance to its crown being damaged by ice storms, while sugar maple has average to strong resistance to ice-caused crown damage.

Drought

Drought
By the 2050, the frequency of very hot 90-degree days in northern Wisconsin is expected to increase from 5 days per year currently experienced to 12 days per year. The warming is projected to be largest in winter, with projected increases of 5-11°F by the mid-21st century across Wisconsin, with the greatest warming across northwest Wisconsin. What is the potential impact of these changes on sugar maple and paper birch?

CLUE: Increases in the length and severity of late summer droughts will have the most widespread effects on tree species. Drought is closely linked to temperature and rainfall amounts. While northern Wisconsin is expected to have more heavy rainfall events, little change in the total amount of summer rain is predicted, but temperatures will be much warmer. Climate models suggest more frequent, localized periods of extreme drought which will dry up forest soils. Trees on dry sites, such as paper birch, could decline or become extinct in Wisconsin. As susceptible trees die, greater amounts of deadwood will increase the chances of forest fires.

Activity Guide

Is Wisconsin’s Climate Changing?

Establish a “baseline” for your climate investigations. Open the Historic Trends and Future Projections Climate Change Maps in the Toolkit, analyze the general climate change trends scientists have documented for Wisconsin from 1950 to 2006. These are sometimes called “observed” changes because they are based on actual records or observations.

List four historic trends in Wisconsin’s climate from 1950-2006:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Trees on the Move?

Use Historic Trends and Future Projections Climate Change Maps and the and other research in the Toolkit to compare and contrast “observed” climate change that has actually happened against “projected” climate change trends. Focus on key environmental characteristics needed by sugar maple and paper birch to survive. “Projected climate changes” on these maps are based on a scenario where in the future our society will continued to use fossil fuels at about the same rate as we do today. Scientists call this the “A1B” climate change scenario.

What is the difference between the historic or “observed” climate trend and “projected” climate change for each of the environmental variables below? How could these changes impact sugar maple and paper birch? Use the table below to guide your investigation. If you cannot find a historic trend for a variable, leave that space blank or fill it in with your own observation.

How do changes in each of these environmental variables increase risks from invasive species? What affect would this have on sugar maple? What impact could invasive species have on paper birch?

Now use the Interactive Climate Change Mapping Tool to investigate how these environmental variables could change under different climate change futures to answer the following questions:

Which climate scenario would have the greatest impact sustainability of sugar maple and paper birch and why? Which scenario would have the least impact on these species and why?

What do these models suggest for the sustainability of Wisconsin’s sugar maple and paper birch trees in the future?

What tree species would be the winners and losers in a warming Wisconsin climate? Using the Climate Change Tree Atlas and other research in the Toolkit, identify three tree species that could benefit from climate change and whose range could expand in Wisconsin. Identify three tree species that could “lose” if Wisconsin’s climate warms and whose range might shrink or disappear from our state. What impact of the gain or loss of each of these species have on Wisconsin’s cultures and economy?

Develop your own hypothesis.

Now that you’ve investigated place-based evidence of climate change impacts and scientific research on climate trends affecting sugar maple and paper birch--what do you think? Do culture and science agree that climate change is affecting sugar maple, paper birch and other trees species now? How will climate change affect these tree species in the future?

Write down your hypothesis… If climate change is occurring, then how might it affect sugar maple and paper birch? Write down your hypothesis.
____________________________________________
_____________________________________________

Test IT!

Develop an experiment or investigation of your own to test your hypothesis. Consider what other factors or variables could be causing the results you are observing.

Here are some ideas of investigations you can conduct to test your hypothesis:

  • Be a Climate Change Time Traveler  Analyze climate change impacts on Sugar Maple and Paper Birch under three different climate futures through 2090! Manipulate the Mapping Tool to compare and contrast what might happen to Wisconsin’s climate under three different climate futures based on the A2, the A1B, and the B2 Scenarios, for two different time periods. Analyze potential climate change impacts under each of these scenarios on the environmental variables that are critical to the sustainability of sugar maple and paper birch. How are these variables projected to change under each scenario, and each time period. How do these changes compare to “observed historic trends” in climate change that occurred from 1950-2006?
  • What are the impacts to the sustainability of sugar maple and to paper birch under each of these scenarios? What climate change scenario offers the best outcomes for sustaining these tree species and why? What scenario suggest for the greatest threat to the sustainability of these tree species, and why?
  • Explore the Models. Examine current distributions and modeled future-climate habitats for 134 individual tree, species or combined species by geographic areas Investigate current and future habitat changes to and many other tree species at the US Forest Service’s Climate Change Tree Atlas. This large, but cool website allows you to manipulate a number of variables to see impacts of different climate change scenarios on the each species. Watch the tutorials first to understand how to get the most out of this website.
  • What growing zone do you live in? Investigate how growing zones shifts in WI and the US since 1990. What do these trends suggest for the sustainability of sugar maple and paper birch?
  • Will Your Climate Be Like Iowa? Use the WI Initiative on Climate Change’s interactive mapping tool to determine what locations in the U.S. that currently resemble what the climate is projected to be like in Wisconsin in the future. Manipulate between the B1, A1B, and the A1 climate scenarios, using different climate models, and over different time periods. What area of the United States currently resembles what your community’s climate could be like in the future under each of the scenarios and the average of all climate models? What is the future for sugar maple and paper birch in this climate?

Does your research support your hypothesis?

Will current or future climate change impact the sustainability of sugar maple and paper birch?

List three pieces of evidence you’ve gathered that supports (or does not support) your hypothesis:
1.

2.

3.

If your research did not support your hypothesis, create a new hypothesis based on your observations and re-test it.

What is Your Conclusion?

What do these climate changes suggest for the sustainability of Wisconsin’s forests, especially tree species like sugar maple and paper birch?

How could these changes affect Ojibwe cultural practice of maple sugaring and birch bark harvesting?

How could these same climate change trends affect your lifestyle and cultural practices you enjoy such as making or eating maple syrup, other recreational activities, hobbies, foods, or customs?