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TOPIC: Tree Sugar Tapping and New Climbing Methods

Tree Sugar Tapping and New Climbing Methods 1 year 10 months ago #137854

In Tropical Asia we have 4 types of trees tapped for sugar. Arenga pinnata, Borassus flabellifer, Caryota urens, and Cocos nucifera. All can become very tall trees and only coconut can be tapped when still rather short. The syrup / sugar quality is different and particularly Caryota urens (in Sri Lanka) and Arenga pinnata (in Indonesia) are considered medicinal with locals happy to spend 4 or 5 times as much as cane sugar. I personally find kithul (Caryota urens) to be the tastiest sweet syrup and after working and sweating in my forest garden, I revive with kithul lime-aid.

Problem is that now tapping is dying out with the elders. I have seen this as a particular problem in Sri Lanka, where the Kithul palms grow wild in wet forest and are part of a sustainable forest system. But even tappers do not want their children to tap due to the danger. Yet tapping can yield quite a decent income. But I think this loss is a general problem as in Thailand we have many areas with tall Borassus flabellifer but no one tapping. I have felt that there may be an interesting option for skilled tree climbers such as in this network to help work with tappers to develop new safer climbing systems with not overly expensive gear. I would particular like to help link for this in Sri Lanka where I see this problem while these palms are part of a rich forest garden- merging to wet tropical forest ecosystem. I see potential for new generation tappers to continue to steward their forests, harvest sugar, but also help other explore these rich and diverse ecosystems.
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