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Beekeepers roundtable: The biggest challenge – climate change

The first round table within the Dinara back to LIFE project was held in Sinj, organized by the Cetina Krajina LAG, and the topic was beekeeping and the challenges facing the local beekeeper. The meeting was attended by representatives of beekeepers, local governments, public institutions for nature management, LAG, and the Biom Association.

In the Cetina region, about 250 beekeepers own about 12,000 hives, and in the last two years the coronavirus has made it difficult to place honey on the market, while increasingly frequent extreme weather conditions have affected the seasonal delay of vegetation. The main topic of the round table was encouraging planting of honey plants in green public and private areas with the aim of improving bee grazing.

As the main current problem, beekeepers unanimously pointed out climate change and several years of drought which makes beekeeping much more difficult in general, and especially stationary beekeeping. It is for this reason that the planting of honey plants and trees that better tolerate drought and bloom in spring or autumn has been proposed, and it is to be expected that indigenous species are more resistant and adapted to local climatic conditions. For beekeepers affected by drought, the renovation project of wells and ponds was presented as indirect support.

Tomislav Sotinac, an expert associate for nature protection at the Dinara back to LIFE project, has presented the idea of action cleaning of overgrown and polluted areas owned by local government units, provided that honey plants are then planted on those areas.

Ivan Budinski, expert project advisor for nature protection, suggested planting honey trees along embankments and canals leading from the settlements to the fields. In this way the number of trees in the area would increase due to elongation. This activity would require the approval of Hrvatske vode public company.

The participants of the round table also mentioned the problem of medicines for varroa, which are subsidized to beekeepers by the state, although they are not effective, while those medicines that are effective are still not available or approved in Croatia. Beekeepers have cited the potential for breaking through, clearing and widening forest fire roads that can be of great benefit to them when accessing certain locations.

The main activity of the Dinara back to LIFE project is the restoration of Dinaric grasslands due to their importance for nature and overall biodiversity, and the restoration of grasslands will benefit all residents of the Dinara area, including beekeepers. The organization of round tables is an introduction to further activities of holding rural development workshops, all in order to further encourage the development of primary activities in the wider project area.