Bee flora resources and honey production calendar of Gera Forest in Ethiopia




Abstract. Bareke T, Addi A. 2019. Bee flora resources and honey production calendar of Gera Forest in Ethiopia. Asian J For 3: 69-74. Gera forest contains substantial coverage of natural forest and known as a Key Biodiversity Hotspot area for Coffea arabica conservation and one of the potential areas for beekeeping. The study was carried out to assess the bee flora and flowering calendar to harvest more honey following the flowering plant cycle. Semi-structured questionnaires, participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques, and field observation were used for data collection. Honey samples collection was also made to identify the botanical origin of honey through honey pollen analysis. Seventy-four bee plant species were identified, which belongs to 41 families. Among the identified plant families, Asteraceae (29.3%), Lamiaceae (14.6%), Acanthaceae (12.2%), and Fabaceae (9.8%) are the most frequent families, represented by the highest species composition in the area. Four major honey harvesting durations were identified (January, March, April, and early June for Vernonia, Coffee, Schefflera, and Croton honey respectively) using the flowering calendar in Gera Forest. The pollen analysis of honey revealed that four types of monofloral honeys were identified comprising Schefflera abyssinica, Vernonia amygdalina, C. arabica and Croton macrostachyus in Gera forest. This is due to their abundance and potentiality for honey production. Therefore, the beekeepers should follow the flowering calendar of the plant to exploit the potential of the forest for honey production. Furthermore, market promotion for monofloral honeys of the Gera forest should be made as an incentive for the beekeepers to sell honey with premium prices and branding and labeling of honey of the area