Practices admired by scientists worldwide, so “Leave the conservation to us”: The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) observes World Bee Day on May 20 – Karnataka

As fragmentation of forests, commercial plantations and uncertain weather conditions threaten the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve on the Western Ghats highlands in southern India, a community of indigenous honey harvesters say they know how best to conserve its biodiversity.

By Priyanka Shankar | Read the full article here >>

Leave the conservation to us,” said Shesha, a youngster hailing from Sajjehalli Hadi, a hamlet of Jenu Kuruba people nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats in the district of Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg) in Karnataka. At Sajjehalli Hadi, people used to live in small huts covered with leaves, amidst bamboo bushes. Now, they have thatched or tin-roofed huts, which have electricity and are also furnished. “Our great-grandfathers grew up here and we know the forest very well.” Shesha belongs to an adivasi group known for conserving bees that are essential not only for their livelihood but also the growth of forests and farms. […]

Kattunayakan honey harvesters Photo © Tarsh Thekaekara | Learn more about bees and honey on this website >>

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) observes World Bee Day on May 20, in a bid to “raise awareness on the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy, and on the many challenges they face today.”

The FAO has voiced its concerns on how bees and other pollinators are declining in abundance, affecting food security. The Jenu Kuruba people’s respect for the bees is admired by scientists worldwide.

Over the past century, tea and coffee plantations spread along the Western Ghats has led to the degradation of the Nilgiri Shola forestsand grasslands. Bees die when there is too much “parasites and pests, pathogens, poor nutrition, and sublethal exposure to pesticides,” scientists explain. A 2020 study of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve showed that the pollinator species count at each farm declined as its distance from the forest edge increased.

Source: “Adivasi honey harvesters demand forest control and criticise ‘unfriendly’ conservation measures”
Date Visited: 25 December 2022

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“National development and the development of tribal communities are linked to each other.” – Droupadi Murmu
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“Tribal communities are a standing example of how women play a major role in preservation of eco historic cultural heritage in India.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara (writer and Co-Founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris) | Learn more >>

Report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel 2011
Report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel
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