Research Aim 3: Advanced Modelling

May 4, 2022

In this Research Aim, we will assemble an advanced observation-based sap flow model.

Inputs will include results from:

  • anatomical observations of sap flow based on imaging techniques (from Research Aim 1) and test-site observations of sap flow (from Research Aim 2),
  • select models from literature and international data, and
  • our own advances in the modelling of heat transfer, solar radiation and freeze-thaw events in sugar maple
3D reconstructions of the embolised vessels within a section of maple xylem. Images taken at the ANSTO Australian Synchrotron and analysed using Ilastik, Meshlab and FIJI.

The model will be used to predict tree stem pressure, optimum growing conditions and locations in our maritime climate, and sap-harvesting strategies to maximise yield.

We will use this model, coupled with other costs to determine the economic viability of establishing a tree syrup industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. Data includes estimating capital cost requirements for an intensified horticultural-style row-crop of tree syrup, including the cost of trees, land, equipment for harvest, and sap-to-syrup conversion facility. The capital cost will be depreciated and combined with projected operating costs, including labour costs for crop maintenance and harvest, sap-to- syrup conversion energy costs, and packaging consumables. This will result in a projected internal rate of return and net present value.

Map of the South Island of New Zealand showing potential plantation sites for sugar maple saplings. (From: Driller et al, 2018)

Business Case & Economics