An assessment of the role of beekeeping in the conservation of forest resources in Budongo Sub-county, Masindi District
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Apiculture is one of the oldest agricultural systems in the history of Uganda. Beekeeping deals with the management of bees and processing of bee products from natural forests, plantations, agricultural land and other habitats. It is a source of employment, provides income to the people, a source of recreation, ecotourism and foreign exchange earnings. Beekeeping also plays major role in improving biodiversity and increasing crop production through pollination. Despite the fact that beekeeping is one of the practices that ensures total conservation of trees and forests, its full potential has not yet been explored in forestry activities since the benefits of bees and beekeeping are obscure to most of the stakeholders. Thus this study examined the role of beekeeping on conservation of forest resources in Budongo sub-county, Masindi district and its major objective was to assess the role of beekeeping in the conservation of forest resources where the study determined the tree species preferred by beekeepers, agroforestry and conservation practices that promote beekeeping, natural habitats bee keepers prefer while siting bee hives and constraints faced by beekeepers while maintaining bee habitats in the study area. A total of 40 respondents from 4 parishes of Nyabyeya, Karongo, Bwinamira and Kasongoire were interviewed through a sampling technique known as snowball sampling. The sample size was determined using Yamane’s formulae of n = N/1+N (e²) and data was analyzed using SPSS where Chi-square tests were conducted to determine the association between the variables. The study found that beekeeping is a vital practice as it contributes to conservation of trees through improving on tree cover and reducing pressure on trees. The study also revealed that Calliandra calothyrsu (Kaliyandula), Mangifera indica (Muyembe), Eucalyptus grandis (Kalittunsi) and Persia americana (Kedo) were the most tree species that planted on people’s farms, the most agroforestry practices that promote beekeeping included trees in crop fields, alley cropping and home gardening and retention of useful bee habitats and trees, domestication and replanting of trees were the most conservation practices employed by beekeepers. It was also noticed that siting hives under tree shades and near water bodies relieves bees from hash conditions as well as making bee forage available from the nearby trees and finally The most faced constraints were; inadequate knowledge, negative perception from the community and challenges being pests and diseases, pollution and theft.