A coastal community in Southern Thailand has taken to beekeeping to ensure local mangrove conservation – using bees to assist with the pollination of certain mangrove species.
The Nai Nang Village in Krabi province aims to restore mangrove forests surrounding its village. The coastal community decided to raise bees after noticing bees helping to pollinate the Khaokram mangrove forest.
The bee keeping collective originated from a conservation group, founded in 2003, that worked to restore the mangrove forest surrounding their village, whilst using bees to assist with their pollination.
The bees gather nectar from seasonal flower blossoms in fruit orchards and mangrove tree species such as the Avicennia alba, Fragellaria indica, Phoenix paludosa, Sonneratia caseolaris and Xylocarpus moluccensis.
At Nai Nang Village along the Andaman Coast, bees are not only a source of income that helps support local livelihoods, they are also an important factor in long-term local mangrove conservation efforts.
In Thailand, huge areas of mangroves were cut down in during the 80s and 90s to make way for shrimp farms. Mangroves can provide coastal communities with a sustainable living and reduce their vulnerability to disasters from natural events such as hurricanes and storm surges. Mangroves also provide other benefits to the rest of the world, including sequestering and storing more carbon than any other forest type.
As mangrove destruction continues globally at nearly 1% annually, attempts are being made to restore these carbon-rich forests.
In 2014, members of the Nai Nang community set up an apiculture group to generate alternative income from the honey products.
The more than 50-strong Nai Nang Apiculture Group teamed up with nonprofit, Mangrove Action Project, who provided technical training on apiculture, as well as training sessions on how to produce value-added honey products such as soap and shampoo.
The all natural Nai Nang Honey is raw and unpasteurised, and is sustainably harvested once a year in April from constructed hives which are colonised by wild bees. The village now has more than 300 beehives. Of the honey product sales, 15% goes to the Nai Nang Village Mangrove Conservation Fund.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com