Native honey bee conservation through sustainable livelihood in Konkan region

Through this effort, SNM is encouraging people to start native honey bee keeping with modern apiculture techniques.

  • Basic training in bee-keeping
  • Equipping people with honey bee boxes
  • Appropriate guidance
  • Encouraging Alternate livelihood
  • Giant honey bee (Apis dorsata)
 

Bee-keeping has been a traditional and cultural practice as a source of livelihood since time immemorial. The scientific principle and modern bee-keeping came into being at the end of the nineteenth century. Bee-keeping is a forest and agro-based sustainable ecology and economic-based source of livelihood. Honeybees are one of the social insects that pollinate one or more cultivars of the world’s 1,500 crop species and are directly or indirectly essential for an estimated 1/3rd of world’s food production. Humans derive benefits from the interaction between two living things - plants and bees, without affecting either adversely. On the contrary plants, including many crops, prosper with the abundance of bees (as pollinating agents) and the bees, both by nature and by human intervention provide mainly honey and other by-products. The rapid Industrial sheltered development, use of potential chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture, and deforestation has had a heavy negative impact on the honeybee diversity as well as agricultural biodiversity. This has indirectly impacted the nearby forest area. Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) has taken the initiative to revive the traditional and cultural practice of bee-keeping as a source of livelihood in Konkan region with modern approach and scientific principles.

Konkan region is formed of mostly secondary lateritic plateaus, hilly tracks, and coastal sandy low land belts. Littoral or mangrove forests, open scrub forests, moist deciduous forests and herbaceous flora of laterite plateaus are main components of vegetation adjoining agricultural land. Native honeybee Apis cerena species is very well adapted to the environmental factor of the region which is suitable for their growth and honey production.

Honey harvesting is a regular practice done by tribals as well as local people in Konkan region. But it consists of traditional methods of honey harvesting like use of fire to burn the bees and removing whole hive to harvest the honey. Such practices adversely affect the bee population. Also, the honey harvested from such traditional methods contains wax, larvae and other impurities which affects the quality of yield and hence reduces profit. Increasing the value of honey increased the number of people in honey harvesting business but it reduced the bee population rapidly. Use of modern methods of apiculture is the best option for harvesting honey without affecting the bee population. Honey harvested using modern methods contains less impurities thus fetching higher price in the market. There is no need to locate the bee hives or to climb hills & trees thus the method is less risky. Anyone can practice it with a bit of knowledge about bee-keeping. As per their role in nature, honey bees play a vital role in pollination of crops as well as the wild flora. This can be used to improve our agricultural production. Studies have shown that keeping bee boxes in the fields increases the agricultural production by 35 to 40%. Thus, using the artificial bee colonies compensates for the decreased number of honey bees in wild and also provides benefit to the agricultural production in the region.

Recognizing the current need of conservation of native honey bee species SNM started the project named Sustainable Source of Livelihood Through Native Honeybee Conservation in Western Ghats. Through this effort SNM is encouraging people to start native honey bee keeping with modern apiculture techniques.
  • Basic training in bee-keeping
    To encourage people on bee-keeping SNM conducts a program in which people get introduced to various aspects of modern day apiculture. In this program proper training of bee-keeping and routine checkup is given.
  • Equipping people with honey bee boxes
    SNM provides bee boxes to bee-keepers at their place with guidance for initial care of bee boxes and engagement with it which is crucial for new bee-keepers.
  • Appropriate guidance
    SNM is providing guidance to bee-keepers on all levels as possible. We are providing expert visits on location as well as telephonic and social guidance.
  • Encouraging Alternate livelihood
    To increase involvement of people in bee-keeping SNM has announced a prize money of Rs. 500 for finding each wild honey bee hive of native bee species. These bee hives are later trans-located to bee boxes and supplied to bee-keepers.
  • Giant honey bee (Apis dorsata)
    SNM is also developing honey extraction from hives of giant honey bees (Apis dorsata) which yield 50-80 KG honey per year, with lesser adverse effect on bees. This will help in conservation as well as to get better yield annually.

This initiative will not only help to get livelihood but also make people aware about the ecological and economic importance of such insects (Honeybee).

It will encourage people in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, India to participate in the conservation and sustainable growth with a pure organic product.

eMammal India project seeks to promote scientific understanding among children of age group between 11-14 predominantly from rural and tribal schools of Maharashtra, India. Thus, the project aims to provide first-hand experience of technology to rural students by using scientific equipment, audio visual aids and internet to expand their curiosity about biodiversity and develop greater appreciation for the natural world, along with providing a common platform for Indian students from different geographical, technical and economic backgrounds and learn how, despite their regional differences. Following project aims at capacity building of rural India by directly involving the future conservator’s i.e. young minds (Students) who will be extensively trained technically as well as scientifically, as training workshops ordained to be conducted at each selected school individually. Within the training program students will be trained to handle camera traps, their installation process accompanied by Monitoring. All these activities are meant to be carried out by students independently their after, although never ending support will be provided by us. For smooth functioning of the program each school is bound to recieve a laptop, projector, 3 camera traps along with internet connection. The images captured will be uploaded by respective schools directly onto the eMammal website and stored in a depository. The project is executed in collaboration with Bombay Natural History Society and State Forest Department for the duration of two years. Sites selected for project are konkan and western ghat region of Maharashtra which includes Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Satara and Kolhapur districts of Maharashtra, among which 20 rural and tribal schools are targeted. It is a Citizen –Science Based project that uses camera traps to document following.

  • Population Size
  • Activation Patterns
  • Habitat Use

What are Camera Traps?

The camera traps are remotely placed motion-activated and have an infrared flash, to minimize the disturbance of the animals.

Discovering Little Nature Conservationist Through Citizen Science Project:

A state level workshop for training students and teachers was organized at Chiplun, Ratnagiri.30 students with 15 teachers belonging to 15 schools from seven districts participated in e-Mammal training workshop which occurred on 1st of April 2017 at madhav sabhagruh, Chiplun from 10 am to 4 pm. The following workshop was organized, under E-Mammal Project supported by ICICI Bank Ltd. and collaboration between Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra Chiplun, and Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Mumbai. Workshop proceedings started off with preliminary introduction of e-Mammal project was delivered to participants, where what is e-mammal? Agenda of the project and role of participants in the project was described. A teacher and two students belonging to 8th and 9th standard participated from 15 schools. Each school was granted with advance automatically operated (Day/Night) 3 Trap Cameras, Laptop, Internet Dongle, Measuring Tape, 3 Metal Case for camera protection, 6 Memory Card, Batteries for camera, HDMI-VGA Cable, 6 Locks along with key and key chains and a safety chain to tie the camera. The remaining three schools received their equipment at the time of training organized at each school independently. Additionally a hands-on training on operating advance camera traps and eMammal desktop application, to all the participants was rendered. Where first participants were introduced to camera trap and its working, further a practical was conducted where all the participants were asked to open their cameras and to follow the instructions given where they were taught to insert batteries and memory card. Else they were asked to switch on their cameras and were introduced to primary functions which are necessary for the deployment of camera. Any occurring queries while operating the camera by participants were answered on the spot. Also a brief demonstration was given on how to use laptop and internet dongle. Beside a demo was given to participants on how to use e-Mammal desktop application which will be used to upload collected data from camera traps. A practical was conducted in the premises of hall which had ample number of trees, within the practical participants were demonstrated with right ways to deploy a camera on field. Various small things were focused on such as starting from selection of tree, filling the deployment sheet till conducting a walk test and finally arming the camera. After getting to know how, the participants were asked to choose a tree and mount their cameras within the premises. An ample amount of time was provided for them to carry out walk test and finally to arm the camera. All the participants carried out the practical with great enthusiasm and excitement.A few notable students mounted and operated the trap cameras excellently and a spark of future conservationist was seen within them. At the end a question answer session was arranged to tackle any queries of participants on operating and deploying trap cameras on field.

workshop training
Participants mounting the camera

Independent Training Program at School’s:

After successful state level workshop conducted at Chiplun, on 1st April 2017 it was the time to steer an independent training program at each selected school. Through this training program we were able to handover the equipment granted under the e-Mammal project to those schools which could not attend the state level workshop due to early commencement of their annual examination. Also this training allowed us to address issues faced by schools while deploying camera traps. A 20 day’s tour was planned according to the school location. At first nearby schools of Raigad and Ratnagiri district were visited then subsequently schools from Sindhudurg district were next in line next we marched up the Ghat’s and entered Kolhapur after that Satara district was covered and at the end a school from Palghar district was visited. For the training program our officials travelled from school to school and delivered training on camera operation and deployment of camera to students belonging to 8th and 9th standard along with participating teacher/teachers. Students responded with great enthusiasm and excitement their ability to learn new things quickly is stunning beside teachers were not far behind of them even they shared the equivalent amount of enthusiasm. The cameras set up by some schools were reviewed on field and guided the rest, in deploying the cameras on field by establishing separate batches of students containing 5-10 students depending upon the strength of class. These groups were handed over with all the equipment and were monitored while deploying the camera. All the cameras were deployed safely and securely.

List of schools selected among various districts

Sr. No.

School Name

Village

District

1

Secondary School Mangeli

Talewadi-mangeli

Sidhudurg

2

N.V.Kulkarni High School

Pangrad

Sindhudurg

3

Shivaji Vidyalay

Hirlok

Sindhudurg

4

Mahatma Gandhi High School

Sakharpa

Ratnagiri

5

Aadarsh Vidyamandir

Belari

Ratnagiri

6

Rajaram Raghojirao Shinde High School

Nandivase

Ratnagiri

7

Talsure High School

Talsure

Ratnagiri

8

Kundalika Vidyalay

Patnus

Raigad

9

Elaben Mehta Vidyalay

Taldev

Satara

10

Shankar Bhagoji Shelar Vidyalay

Aandhari/Kaas

Satara

11

Aadarsh Madhyamik Vidyalay

Thoseghar

Satara

12

Guruvarya Lalasaheb Patankar Vidyalay

Bopoli

Satara

13

Aadarsh Madhymik Vidyalay

Gajapur

Kolhapur

14

Mahalaxmi High School

Adoli

Kolhapur

15

Mauli Vidyalay

Tilari Nagar

Kolhapur

16

Sharada Vihar Madhyamik Vidyalay

Choravane

Khed

17

Kubharwadi Madhyamik Vidyalay

Kumbharwadi

Kolhapur

18

Seth Gangadhar Makhriya High School

Mahableshwar

Satara

19

Shiroshi Vibhag High School Shiroshi

Shiroshi

Thane

20

Shivbhakta Aadivasi Aashramshala

Lavhali

Thane

 

 Conservation of Indian Pangolin

In July 2015, 44 kg of scales were confiscated near Chiplun. Recently in February 2016, another consignment with 12 kg of scales was seized by the Maharashtra State Police Department and Wildlife Wing of Maharashtra State Forest Department. This incidence prompted SNM to gear up for protection and conservation of Indian Pangolin in Konkan. For more information click here

 

e-Mammal India Project 

This project aims to provide the first-hand experience of technology to rural students by using scientific equipment. Training workshops will be conducted at each selected school individually. Within the training program, students will be trained to handle camera traps, their installation process accompanied by Monitoring. To see photos captured by this project click here

 

Annual Reports

Every year Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra (SNM) successfully implements all its programs such as Conservation of Indian PangolinVulture ConservationMarine Turtle Conservation and Turtle Festival, Awareness programs in Schools and various capacity building programs. You may find previous years' Annual reports here.

 

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