Access to government-owned land, which includes national parks, state forests, conservation and water reserves and stock routes, is vital to NSW beekeeping. Government-owned lands provide diverse floral resources including native bushlands as bee forage, and importantly offer pesticide-free refuges where hives can rehabilitate, particularly after their use in crop pollination.
Commercial NSW beekeepers pay to access government-owned lands and have traditionally derived 30-50% of their honey production from this resource. Destruction of large areas of these lands by the fires has severely reduced suitable bee sites.
While planting and rehabilitation programs are underway there is an urgent need to access new government-owned sites to maintain beekeeping as a viable profession and industry in NSW.
Audit of NSW Government-Owned Lands for Suitability as Bee Sites
Beehives laid out in the burnt forest, which was scorched in the Currowan fire on the NSW South Coast in 2020. CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY, SMH
Identification of viable existing resources for the NSW beekeeping industry, particularly during the transition period before damaged bush regenerates and new areas are replanted.
Work with government bodies and provide recommendations that will assist the provision of useful lands and promote secure access by beekeepers in the short- to medium-term.
Immediately secure land to enable the beekeepers to keep producing honey thereby re-establishing a profitable industry for the whole Apiary supply chain.
This project will be coordinated and conducted by DPI in NSW, who run the single policy desk for bee sites on public land and have experience identifying and mapping suitable bee sites.
Perform a state-wide audit of government-owned lands to identify potential resources for immediate beekeeper use.
Use maps and satellite imagery held by DPI to identify potential sites and release this information to the beekeeping industry.
Closely collaborate with state government and other stakeholders to the secure most appropriate land and enable immediate access for commercial beekeepers
Immediate access to productive new bee sites for beekeepers
Retention of beekeepers in the NSW Apiary Industry
A sustained supply chain
This project will have an immediate impact on the NSW Apiary Industry by providing secure access to floral resources that are vital for bee health, honey production and pollination services. It will enable weakened hives to regenerate and will secure beekeeper jobs and income at this critical time. It will sustain the supply chain while burnt bee sites recover and regenerate without incurring ongoing costs to the government.