Bees pollinate 16% of the total 250000 flowering plants species known so far. One-third of the human diet is said to be derived from products of bee pollination. About 90% of the world's plant food production is mainly based on 82 products derived majorly from only 63 plant species. The importance of bees can be realized from the fact that for 39 of these plant species bees are major pollinators. This campaign aims to conserve both - The species and the economics associated with it!
In spite of the enormous contribution of bees to our food security and economy, there is a serious decline in the population of bees and other insect pollinators. This is primarily due to habitat loss, intensive use of insecticides and pesticides for agriculture production across the World. In the Western Ghats of India, the situation is not very different. Rampant deforestation and indiscriminate use of insecticides/ herbicides are wiping out known/unknown pollinators every year.
In the regions of northern Western Ghats where AERF has been engaged in saving forests involving local communities, two economically important crops- cashew & mango- are grown on over 300,000 hectares of land. Both these crops are crucially dependent on honeybees for fruit setting and production. AERF has researchers working on studying/conserving bees. The amount generated through this campaign will be used to create Bee Champions - Local Community members trained as professional BEEKEEPERS!
Our target for the next 3 years is to bring 100 hectares of community forest & private Mango/Cashew orchards under conservation management through avoided deforestation as well as create 100 Bee Champions from 25 different villages in the project area. On the same conserved patches of forest lands, we will engage our Bee Champions to set up bee boxes for Apiculture. By doing this we will achieve our 3 primary objectives; Forest Conservation, Bee Conservation, and Alternate Livelihood Generation.
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