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Conservation of Asian honey bees
- Oldroyd, Benjamin P., Nanork, Piyamas
- Apidologie 2009 v.40 no.3 pp. 296-312
- Apoidea, Dipterocarpaceae, crops, deforestation, demography, extinction, forest health, forests, harvesting, honey, honey bees, income, indigenous species, logging, pollination, pollinators, population, wood, East Asia
- East Asia is home to at least 9 indigenous species of honey bee. These bees are extremely valuable because they are key pollinators of about 1/3 of crop species, provide significant income to some of the world’s poorest people, and are prey items for some endemic vertebrates. Furthermore, Southeast Asian Dipterocarp forests appear to be adapted to pollination by honey bees. Thus long-term decline in honey bee populations may lead to significant changes in the pollinator ecology of these forests, exacerbating the more direct effects of deforestation and wood harvesting on forest health. Although complete extinction of any honey bee species is seen as unlikely, local extinction is likely to occur across extensive areas. The most significant threats to local honey bee populations are deforestation and excessive hunting pressure. Conservation of East Asian honey bees requires immediate action to determine what rate of colony harvesting by honey hunters is sustainable. This requires information on the demography of hunted populations, particularly the intrinsic growth rates and the rates of harvest.