Role of beekeeping in the conservation of forests
AbstractBeekeeeping preserves nature, agriculture, sustains livelihoods and provides food security. These important roles of beekeeping notwithstanding, the potentials of beekeeping are apparently not exploited in forestry activities. Bee products provide healthy, high-nutrient food, safe medicines (apitherapy) and raw material for industries. For example, honey is used in food processing industries as sweeteners or antioxidants and wax is utilized in batik making. Forests, being areas with no direct agricultural activity, provide a source of organic nectar. Without the
pollinating activities of bees, over 100, 000 species of plants would have become extinct. Pterocarpus angolensis, Dalbergia nitidula and Bethalletia excelsa (Brazil nut tree) are examples of trees conserved through beekeeping. In the United Republic of Tanzania, bee forest reserves have been established with exclusive access for beekeepers. Also, in Tanzania, woodland is conserved in Mpika and Samfya Districts primarily to train farmers in beekeeping technologies in order to generate income from sale of honey. The Gwalek Forest of Nepal covers an area of 2571 hectares and has diverse flora and fauna with a high potential for beekeeping. Within the Mau Forest in Kenya, the bee has established some symbiotic relationships that have maintained the health of the forests for centuries. These conservation projects are encouraged by the World Wide Fund for Nature. It is recommended that developing countries should establish honey councils within their domains as a way of reinforcing the conservation of forests. These countries should give incentives to enhance active community participation and involvement of all stakeholders
in planning and execution of beekeeping projects aimed at achieving the conservation of forests.