Wheen Bee Foundation respectfully acknowledges the lives lost and communities impacted across the country during this very difficult fire season.
The Bushfires burning across the Australian landscape are decimating many of the native forests that are crucial for maintaining healthy bees. These forests are home to around 2,000 species of native bees together with a range of other plant and animal species that underpin biodiversity and support a range of essential ecosystem services. These forests are also important for strengthening honey bee colonies, both for honey production and also for food security through the provision of commercial crop pollination services in crops such as almonds, apples and avocados.
As at 7th January 2020, the total area burned since the start of this fire season is 12 million hectares and the fires are continuing to burn and are forecast to continue for some weeks still.
In addition to the loss of native forests, a number of beekeepers have also lost hives. While the fires remain active, it is too early to predict the full impact of these fires for beekeepers and the flow on effects for the crops and industries that rely upon bees. What we do know is that many of these forests will take years and in some cases decades to recover to their former floral abundance. In some cases these forests may never fully recover. The impacts will certainly be felt for many years to come.
State and federal government are the appropriate agencies to provide immediate aid to deal with the short term problems. What is needed are new solutions to challenging problems and calm, considered action to develop programs and projects that sustain bees, beekeepers and pollination services over the next 10 years.
As a registered charity devoted to bees, Wheen Bee Foundation has established a ‘Strategic Bee Rebuild & Recovery Fund’. This Fund is to support research development and extension programs and projects that will allow our bees and beekeepers to be sustained over the next 10 years as they recover from this current bushfire crisis and the longer term impacts it will create.
Wheen Bee Foundation will continue to work in consultation and collaboration with the national peak industry body, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), research and development agencies, universities, pollination dependent industries, governments, Landcare groups and other community members to ensure the projects and programs deliver real benefits to our bees and beekeepers for food security.
We are grateful for those wishing to help.