Protected areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. They maintain key habitats, provide safe-haven for fauna and flora. PAs allow for species migration and movement, and also ensure the maintenance of natural processes across the landscape.
Not only do PAs secure biodiversity conservation, they also secure the well-being of humanity. PA creation also secures alternative livelihoods for communities adjacent to them. Many of the adjacent communities more or less depended on the PA for their livelihoods. So providing alternative sources of livelihoods will enable the community members not to over-depend on the forest.
Apiculture (bee farming) is one of the alternative livelihoods sources, Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) secures for communities adjacent to the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS). Over 250 beehives have been donated to inhabitants of communities like Mmock-Leteh, Fossungu, Upper Lewoh, Essoh-Attah and Magha.
From empirical analysis, it was observed that a beehive produces a maximum of 5 liters of honey per harvest. The honey is harvested at least 3 times per year (February, June and October), especially is serious and thorough monitoring done every month.
In February 2018, the first seasonal harvest was carried out with a total of 192 liters reaped in Mmock-Leteh, and Magha.
The honey was garnished and sold by the Silver Back Company (SBC Ltd).
The SBC deals in Honey, Palm oil, Mondia whetei, Echinops gigantus and NTFPs (Non-Timber Forest Products) coming from communities adjacent to protected areas, that have benefitted from alternatives livelihoods.
Adding to honey harvesting, shall be a soap production factory, which is imminent, at the Tofala-Mone East Corridor Rainforest Conservation Landscape.
By Ayankeng Atem