To prevent bee deaths, the area of flowers and trees needs to be doubled
  • At least 300,000 hectares of honey source fields are required for the health of bee colonies
  • ‘Crisis of Bees and Proposal for Protection Policy’ jointly published by Greenpeace and Andong National University

To prevent the mass death of bees, which is a global problem, a report has come out that Korea must have a minimum area of 300,000 hectares (flowers and trees) for honey bees. This is twice the current honey source field area of 150,000 hectares.

In celebration of World Bee Day on the 20th, on the 18th, Greenpeace published a report titled ‘The Crisis of Bees and Proposals for Protection Policy’ together with Andong National University Industrial Cooperation Foundation, and presented the causes and solutions for bee mortality in Korea.

According to the report, bees strengthen their immunity by ingesting nectar and pollen from various nectar plants, such as locust trees, chestnut trees, and rapeseed. However, the area of honey sources has decreased by about 325,000 hectares over the past 50 years.

The sharp decline in domestic honey plants led to malnutrition and reduced immunity of bees, and they became more vulnerable to parasites, pesticides, insecticides, and natural enemy wasps. It is analyzed that this has triggered the honey bee colony collapse phenomenon (CCD), in which 14.1 billion bees have recently disappeared.

Bee carcasses in the hands of a Greenpeace activist in Germany (Photo=Greenpeace)

The report suggested that the honey source area should be at least 300,000 hectares, ▲the creation of various milk sources in national and public forests, ▲expanding direct payment for afforestation to provide ecosystem services in private forests, ▲expanding habitats for pollen vectors in living areas, and ▲establishing a committee under the Prime Minister.

This report is the first time that specific figures for the domestic target honey source area have been presented. The report explained that the natural honey requirement of bees living in one hive is at least 30 kg, and about 300 kg of honey can be produced from 1 hectare of the honey source tree. Therefore, considering the domestic beekeeping bees, native bees, and wild bees, a minimum of 300,000 hectares is required.

As a result of a recent analysis by the Korea Forest Service based on clinical conditions, it was revealed that Korea’s honey source area is only about 150,000 hectares. The Forest Service plans to expand the honey source area by about 3,800 ha every year, but at this rate, it will take about 40 years to secure the necessary honey source area, and about 100 years to reach the previous level.

The report said that to expand the honey source area, it is necessary to establish a plan to strengthen the ecosystem function, such as securing flower beds containing honey plants in urban parks or living areas. I heard the case of the Netherlands, which is making efforts for this.

Cheol-Eui Jeong, a professor of plant medicine at Andong University, who wrote this report, said, “Milwon plants are essential for food security and sustainable ecosystem maintenance by providing food and habitats not only for bees but also for natural enemies insects.”

Taeyoung Choi, a Greenpeace biodiversity campaigner, said, “The mass mortality of bees is evidence that the climate crisis is happening, and more active policies are needed to respond to the climate crisis.”


Foreign Affairs Journal

21:30 May 18 2023