Maximilian Spiegelberg, FEAST Project Researcher, took a trip to the Philippines to join “International Meliponine Conference and Asian Apicultural Association Philippines Symposium on Pollinator Conservation” held on Feb 25th to 28th, 2020 at University of the Philippines, Los Banos, at which he gave a presentation titled “Tracking Practices of Traditional Beekeeping in Taiwan and Japan”.
Tracking practices of traditional beekeeping in Taiwan and Japan
Maximilian Spiegelberg (FEAST Project, RIHN), Rika Shinkai (FEAST Project, RIHN), Chung-Yu Ko (National Iilan University, Taiwan), I-Hsin Sung (National Chiyali University, Taiwan)
Traditional beekeeping of A.cerana in Japan and Taiwan has been part of multiple subsistence livelihoods in mountainous, rural areas for a long time. Those livelihoods rely on turning the natural abundance of the landscape into various resources for human use, which in turn gives people an interest in maintaining highly diverse, mosaic landscapes. Just like many other local bee species, A.cerana is, in contrast to the introduced A.mellifera, well adapted to the local conditions such as the mountainous climates, specific vegetation and predators, and therefore able to survive on its own when it chooses not to be kept by people.
Having employed qualitative interviews, exploratory walks and participatory observation in selected areas of Japan and Taiwan we could identify several characteristics of extensive beekeeping such as low capital investment, use of local natural materials, high traditional environmental knowledge, respect for natural bee behavior, and adherence to cultural norms related to the use of nature.
With the well documented global need to reverse and transform the negative effects of the industrial agricultural system in order to halt biodiversity losses and limit climate change, keeping local bee species by sustainable principles in harmony with the landscape can be an increasingly significant factor for the development of alternative agricultural practices.
Keywords: rural development, natural beekeeping, landscape stewardship