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Mark your apiary on the map – save the linden!

30 april 2020
WWF Russia and the Association of Beekeepers of Primorye together with the Center of Environmental Initiatives have begun compiling a map of apiaries of Primorsky province to support provincial measures on linden conservation. Mapping of permanent and traveling bee farms is carried out as part of “People for Nature” Project implemented by WWF Russia with the support of the European Union. The map will help to identify new "rest zones" with the ban on linden logging.

Over the past 10 years, public organizations and social activists of Primorye out of beekeepers and lawmakers have expressed a deep concern about the problem of cutting Far Eastern lindens. The issue of introducing protection measures has been raised urgently in recent years. According to WWF, in 2018 the real volume of linden logged in the Far East for export exceeds the officially reported volume by 4 times. Meanwhile, Amur, Manchurian and Take linden species are the most valuable honey bearing plants. It’s harvesting causes a serious damage to the Ussuri taiga, the home of the Amur tiger and taiga beekeeping, an important and unique component of the socio-economic development of the Russian Far East.

In 2019, by the initiative of the Governor of Primorsky province to protect honey-bearing plants from logging, about 1.2 million hectares of linden forests, so-called “rest zones”, were delineated and included in the Forest Plan of Primorsky province as regional measures for linden conservation. Environmentalists, beekeepers, industry experts and government officials have repeatedly discussed the elaboration of a common strategy for the conservation of linden in Primorye at the beekeeping forums that have been held in Primorye in the past 4 years. Mapping bee farms, which is carried out for the first time in the past 40 years in Primorye by the initiative of WWF Russia and the Association of Beekeepers of Primorsky province will become the basis for identifying new "rest zones".

According to Evgeny Lepeshkin, project coordinator on sustainable forest management of WWF Russia Amur Branch:
“At present, local forestry units have information only on those apiaries, which were leased as forest plots of the state forest fund. But the share of such plots is pitifully small and hardly reaches 5% of the real number of bee farms in each of the regions. Therefore, in order to create a reliable map of apiaries in Primorye the solidarity of beekeepers is more important than ever. After all, they are the main source of information for determining the location of permanent and travelling bee farms, and of course, they are directly interested themselves in preserving linden forests around the honey harvesting sites.”

The need to identify "rest zones" is caused by the regional specifics of beekeeping in the south of the Russian Far East. Far Eastern beekeeping is not based on permanent apiaries located near buckwheat or clover fields, compare to the central and western parts of Russia. It is directly related to the migration type from one to another forest plantation, primarily of three linden species, which are distinguished by irregular honey bearing capacity in different areas and seasons. Thus, taiga beekeepers in Primorye are forced to constantly transport their hives in search of places for the best honey collection. This strategy allows more efficient use of the honey potential of the Ussury taiga. However, linden stands around such relocated apiaries are not protected by law from logging.

On the initiative of the Accosiation of Beekeepers of Primorsky province, the delineating of "rest zones" was included in the proposals for a new draft of the regional Law on beekeeping, which is currently undergoing public hearings.

According to Ramil Enikeev, chairman of the Association of Beekeepers of Primorsky province:
“The main innovation proposed for the Beekeeping Law is the introduction of “rest zone” concept for the conservation of linden for the territory of the forest fund of Primorsky province. According to the new Law, such zones should be delineated within 3 km radius around each apiary, regardless its permanent or travelling status. The well-being of at least 7000 beekeepers in Primorye depends on the consolidation of this protective status at the legislative level.”

Data generation for apiary mapping is carried out by the autonomous non-profit organization Center for Environmental Initiatives, which accepts information on apiaries by phone or by e-mail While providing data on the apiary the following characteristics are taken into account: the geographical coordinates of the location, the approximate number of bee colonies, the type of apiary (travelling or permanent), the main honey-bearing trees. The collection of personal data of beekeepers is not a project objective.

Mapping of apiaries in Primorye is carried out as part of the People for Nature Project, which is implemented by WWF Russia in 2019-2022 with the support of the European Union and is aimed at involving a wide range of stakeholders in protecting the Russian environment. The objectives of the project are the conservation of forests by preventing their degradation and illegal use, as well as minimizing the negative impact of industry on the environment through increasing the environmental responsibility of the business and reducing air and water pollution.

For additional information please contact
Senior Project Coordinator