Tuesday 20 December 2011

Rubber plantation in Tripura: A Ray of Hope for Revival of Apis dorsata, Apis cerana indica and Other Honey Producing Species.

     In my earlier post, some idea had been given about the disappearance or decline of Apis dorsata the giant honey bee and other species like Apis cerana indica and Apis melipona in Tripura.
     The decline of Apis dorsata, Apis cerana indica honey bee and also other species were the reason of depletion of forest coverage, un-scrupulous methods of honey extraction, usage of pesticides and also lack of forages in the form of cultivated nectar and pollen producing crops.
    Now, the once most abundant honey bee, the Apis dorsata and Apis cerana indica are rare and not to be seen like before however recent report that I gathered online throws a ray of hope for revival of honey bee population in the state.
   Now, it is no more debating topic that Rubber Plantation is also one of the reason of depletion of natural vegetation so is imbalance in the natural ecosystem.
Now, it is also no more debating topics that the things already happened cannot be easily undone or restored.
   Now the question is; how these species could be revived? This is the question that comes first. Online report indicated that Rubber Plantation which until now looked suspiciously for changing the natural ecosystem could be a source of revival olden glory.
   It was established fact that rubber plantation provides a source of subsidiary income through bee keeping and it has been around for many decades. Khadi and Village Industries Commission of Government of India is the concerned for pursuing this aspect.
    Now, of course, Rubber Board is also providing help to the concerned farmers or rubber growers in respect to establishment of apiary in the rubber plantation. The rubber tree particularly the “tip of the petiole where leaflet joins” (www.rubberboard.org.in) are a good source of nectar so is for honey.
     This is the good news for the farmers and growers for their additional income and also good news for the people who are worried for natural imbalance and its subsequent affects on decline of different species in the state.
     Tripura is the second largest producer of natural rubber in the country naturally; there would be substantial acreage of rubber plantation in the state. Now the question is; how to harness this opportunity for both economical purpose as well as saving the endangered honey bee species in the state?
     In Tripura also there was some report in this regards but there is no substantial activities as on date. Rubber belts in the south district of Tripura like Rani-Mirza, Tulamura and the adjoining areas did not have any beekeeping activities in their rubber plantations. Even many rubber growers do not know that their rubber plantation could be a source of additional income through bee keeping.
     Rubber plantations which till now has been utilized for latex and timber could easily be a source for subsidiary activity by the people of the state for earning a substantive income through beekeeping. This aspect is yet to find its right place for exposure.
      Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee or rock bee which is wild cannot be tamed and domesticated for permanent source of income but the source that id rubber trees should be forth coming for the species to flourish in the state.
       Apis cerana indica which comparatively small in size could be hived and reared successfully for economic activity. Moreover, people of the state knew the procedure for keeping of Apis cerana indica honey bee.
     However, for any dramatic changes to happen, rigorous study should be conducted as indicated below:-
     • A detail study to find out the acceptability of the honey bees to the new forage i.e. Rubber petiole.
       • A detail study to find out the year long requirement of nectar and pollen from the Rubber trees as it is indicated that the flow of nectar is during the month of January to March.
      • Rubber is not ever green tree species; it sheds leaves during the month of February to March in every year and its affects on honey bee colony.
       • Movable system of beekeeping, a new system to be studied with different location based centre.
     Once, the study of the above is fruitful there should not be any back tracking, it should be popularized throughout the Rubber growing areas of the state.
                                    Agritangkol dated 08.12.2011 at 05.30 P.M


  1. You have said or mentioned that rubber plantation will revive the honey bee species but no remarkable changes is yet to come out.

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