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Beekeepers and hunters united efforts to preserve honey-bearing forests of Primorye

05 march 2021
The project of WWF-Russia to preserve honey-bearing forests within the tiger range was launched in Primorye with the support of the Credit Bank of Moscow (MKB), implemented by the Union of Beekeepers of Primorsky province and hunting clubs "Fauna", "Sinegorye" and “Yakovlevsky RZOP”. The public anti-poaching brigade represented by game users and beekeepers will help to prevent illegal logging of linden on the territory of more than 100 thousand hectares.

Game users and beekeepers began joint patrolling of valuable forests in Anuchinsky and Yakovlevsky districts of Primorye and meeting partners for sustainable development and protection of honey-bearing plants. The unique location at the junction of several natural zones at once has formed the richest flora of the south of the Russian Far East: about 3000 higher vascular plants, including more than 40 melliferous plants, including 3 linden species, Amur cork, Kalopanax and others. Due to the large number of honey-bearing plants and a longer flowering process, the honey yield here is 2-3 times higher than in the western regions of Russia.

Joint patrol of "Fauna" hunting lease
Andrei Skolov, beekeeper, one of the project participants
Beekeepers and hunters of Primorye have united to preserve the honey-bearing forests
Evgeny Lepeshkin / WWF Russia
According to Evgeny Lepeshkin, project coordinator on sustainable forest management at WWF Russia Amur branch: “The new project is unique because it involves specific people living on their land, surrounded by natural forests, which are destroyed every year. But these forests are rich not only in wood resources. For the first time, neighboring communities are joining together to stop forest violations as well as participate in forest management processes. We hope that the partners involved in the project will demonstrate that people living in taiga, whether hunters or beekeepers also have the right to protect the unique forests.”

Unfortunately, in recent decades, unsustainable felling of the most valuable trees (often due to mining operations) has had a strong negative impact on forest ecosystems in the southern Far East. WWF-Russia studies show that, on average, every third oak and ash tree in the south of the Far East is harvested illegally, and in some years the volume of export by 2-4 times exceeded the volume of officially permitted cut. A similar situation was revealed in the harvesting of linden.

In 2018, WWF-Russia appealed to the provincial authorities to urgently take measures to preserve the Far Eastern lindens - Amur, Manchurian and Take species. Priority steps were supported by the Governor of the Primorsky province. In 2019, special “no take zones” appeared in the Primorsky Forest Plan in which the felling of linden is prohibited.

However, the high demand and market price for linden wood leads to illegal logging of linden, including within the “no take zones”.

To solve this problem a public anti-poaching brigade is formed out of game users and beekeepers. These categories of forest users are interested in preserving honey-bearing trees and preventing illegal logging of linden and other valuable species. The brigade will operate on the territory of three model hunting clubs.

Tracks of a tiger and a lyxs on one road
Beekeepers and hunters of Primorye have united to preserve the honey-bearing forests
Evgeny Lepeshkin / WWF Russia
Comments Elena Finashina, head of the sustainable development department of MKB: “The Bank's support for the project to preserve valuable honey forests in the tiger range is based on the desire to protect the forests and nature of the southern Far East. It is important for us to reduce our own ecological footprint, as well as to help minimize the negative environmental impact caused by human activity. Russia ranks first in the world in terms of forest area, this is our wealth and it must be handled with care, considering that forests play a key role in solving climate change problems”.

The adopted regulations for involving the active community in volunteer activities in the forest - the corps of public forest inspectors, which are currently being created, will also be a good help. For this, at the end of 2020, WWF Russia, together with the Ministry of Forestry and Hunting Management of Primorsky province organized a training for game users and beekeepers to combat illegal logging. The certificates of public inspectors will allow them to carry out not only the protection of game resources, but also to identify illegal logging.

For additional information please contact
Senior Project Coordinator