Our pickers are contacting us to say they have seen arctic bramble flowers (locally known as bakeapples) on the islands, this is the first time we have seen them so early. Usually the plants do not bloom until July.
So what's going on this year?
The temperatures are indeed higher.
We had less snow and ice during the winter.
There is no ice in the ocean straits which normally cause colder temperatures offshore.
Our question is whether this will be a long-term change or if this year is just an isolated event.
Arctic bramble flowers are very fragile and a frost can ruin the harvest with flowers coming out so early. That is why we are very concerned about the quality of the next harvest.
In research done in Labrador near the Lower North Shore, the report noted the following:
They identified elements of vulnerability, including: environmental changes affecting bakeapple abundance, quality, and ripening time (i.e. exposure), community characteristics that affect how these changes have local impacts (i.e. sensitivity) and the ways in which the community responds to environmental changes (i.e. adaptive capacity). Our results confirm that environmental changes related to permafrost, vegetation, and water have taken place at bakeapple picking locations, with observed impacts on bakeapples. It is becoming increasingly difficult for bakeapple pickers to respond to variable growth, as has been the case in the past, due to changes in summer settlement patterns that place families farther from their plots of bakeapples.
We know that global temperatures are increasing at unprecedented rates, with amplified increases in the Arctic (IPCC 2013; AMAP 2017). According to Environment Canada, air temperatures have increased by 1.7°C and 3.1°C in the western Canadian Arctic. Indigenous Communities of the Arctic and Subarctic.
As we prepare for our next harvest season, we need to plan for the future. We wonder if seasonal pickers will pick earlier, are we expecting lower yields or will they increase, will the lack of snow have an effect on the water supply for plants on the bogs?< /p>
We really believe that researchers should take a closer look at the effects of global warming on northern wildlife and the future effects on crops of natural plant species that are used as a source of food supply and income for residents from the north.
So, what do you think:
What is the future of northern plants with rising temperatures?
How will these changes affect our vulnerable community?
We'll end with the hope that this year will be a bountiful harvest, but we'll keep you posted.