There is an old Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” Planting trees nowadays is more important than ever, and planting honey trees and plants is the only way to ensure the survival of bees and other pollinators!
Honey trees and plants are “restaurants” for bees and other pollinators. The challenge that bees and other pollinators face is that their search for food becomes increasingly uncertain, their journey longer, and the food menu shorter, as a result of the impact of climate change and its consequences to the vegetation.
Out of all plant species used for human consumption, 75% are directly dependent on pollination, and honey bees are responsible for 80% of all insect pollination. It is evident that food shortage for pollinators means food shortages for the people. Apart of providing food for the pollinators, honey plants are habitats for certain animal species, prevent erosion processes and help in preservation of biodiversity.
Having directly felt the negative consequences of the lack of forage for their bees, beekeepers have been stating the importance for planting honey trees and plants for a long time. In order to raise awareness in society and include us all actively and together in the plantation of honey trees and plants, the Slovenian beekeepers’ association in November 2021 started the project Day of planting honey plants (Dan sajenja medovitih rastlin). The aim is to plant as much honey trees and plants possible, while including all social groups in the plantation activities. The importance of this project was quickly recognized and welcomed by a number of organizations worldwide that joined the initiative for plantation of honey trees and plants scheduled for 26.03.2022. So far, more than 100 organizations from 21 countries supported this initiative and will actively participate in the implementation activities. More information about the project activities and supporting organizations can be found on the following link.
The Nature Conservation Programme continuously organizes, supports and implements this type of activities that directly improve the state of biodiversity and protection of autochthonous species. For the Day of planting honey plants, the Nature Conservation Programme provided oak (Quercus sp.) and sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) seedlings. Part of the trees will be planted on the three developing apiaries owned by the Honey East association near the cities of Makedonska Kamenica, Pehcevo and Kocani, while the rest will be distributed among the members of the Honey East association and planted in and around their apiaries situated in different locations throughout the Bregalnica region. The initiative is supported and joined by the Macedonian Ecological Society (MES). Representatives from MES, in addition to their active participation in the plantation activities, will undertake activities for providing advisory support in choosing the appropriate plant species and recommendations for plantation and proper care of the planted seedlings.
The planting of honey trees and plants should be done continuously and on any given occasion. Meanwhile, it is important which plants are to be chosen for plantation. Autochthones (native) plant species that thrive in the region should be chosen for the plantation. If allochthonous (invasive alien species) are planted, there is risk for additional ecological and economic consequences having in mind their invasive nature.
Some of the autochthones honey trees that are recommended for plantation in our country are:
- Black alder (Alnus glutinosa)
- Wild cherry (Prunus avium)
- Cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera)
- Hungarian oak (Quercus frainetto)
- Downey oak (Quercus pubescens)
- Linden (Tilia cordata, Tilia grandifolia)
- Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa)