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Traditional honey and wax collection with Apis dorsata in the upper Kapuas Lake region, West Kalimantan.

In 1996 the Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve was visited for the purpose of reconfirming the traditional honey and wax collection practices of Apis dorsata colonies by the local population. This so-called tikung practice was found mainly performed by the Malay population. In the low submerged lake forests, hardwood planks (tikung) are attached in trees 1.5-4 m above the water level in the wet season. Some 20 to 25% of these planks become occupied. Combs are collected during dark moon nights in the honey season once a year. Families may own up to 500 tikung or more, but the average is around 80. Hundreds of families throughout the DSWR engage in tikung honey harvesting. A set of traditional regulations is respected by various groups of tikung owners.

Among the Dayak population, honey collection from lalau trees is more common: 30-40 m high bee trees that can host more than 100 A. dorsata colonies, for which honey collection and tree ownership follows practices as described elsewhere in SE Asia. Collection from repak trees, i.e. trees usually having one or a few colonies, which are not owned, is intermediate and of lesser importance.

Honey and beeswax collection activities and improvements were part of the Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve conservation project's conservation products enterprise and are briefly described.


Traditionally in Asia nests of Apis dorsata or the "Giant Asian Honeybee" have been exploited to produce the bulk of honey and wax, which have been traded for ages. In most cases Apis dorsata nests are hunted, the bees chased away with smoke, and the comb completely cut away for collection. Famous are traditional honeyhunters who in many areas climb steep cliffs or ascend tall "bee trees" by hand-made ladders, using local tools.

In 1989 the existence of managed honey and wax collection from this bee was confirmed to be a still common practice among beekeepers in U Minh, Southern Vietnam (Crane 1994). References and early notes confirm that the system, referred to as rafter beekeeping, has existed for more than a hundred years.

An old Dutch reference from 1851 on an expedition in Kalimantan reported the existence of a similar management system for honeybees, locally called tikung beekeeping, which was later described in more detail by de Mol (Lijnden 1851) and (de Mol 1933). As in U Minh, the bee management system described for Kalimantan occurred in an area of submerged forest, with a lack of tall trees (or rock faces) to which bees can hang their nests.

(Giesen 1987) reported that this management practice in the DSWR area had declined, probably due to low prices for honey.

This report is the result of a study visit to the upper Kapuas Lake region in January 1996, which surprisingly revealed the tikung system to still be popularly practised by a relative large group of the local population. Much use was made of recent studies made by project staff of the ODA sponsored Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve Conservation project active since 1992 in the DSWR. (1) Among several studies, some described the local honey and wax business (Colfer, Erman and Zulkamain 1993; Rouquette 1995), on which a Community Based Income Generating Programme was designed of which honey and beeswax were an important component (Wickham 1995).

This account makes use of the various data collected during the project, especially the studies by Rouquette and Colfer's team.

Danau Sentarum Lake Region: Population and Vegetation

The majority of the DSWR population are Malays, whose main activity is fishing. They live in boathouses or permanent houses in villages built on stilts. Besides Malays, around 10% of the population consists of Dayak groups, mainly Iban, who live at somewhat higher sites, mostly with several families living together in longhouses. Their activities, besides fishing, include collecting and selling forest products, hunting, and some agriculture.

Since the 1700s, the Muslim Malay population started moving into the area as traders or settlers from downstream. Establishing small kingdoms, the local Dayak groups were driven into more forested areas. Due to famines between 1830 and 1880, Iban Dayaks from Sarawak came into the area (Jensen 1994).

There is a seasonal migration of various floating fishing communities in and out of the lake area. In the dry season, with low water, fishing is most profitable, whereas during most of the year when the water is high, catches are smaller.

Commodity trading is done mainly by Chinese boatsmen who move up and down the Kapuas River. Barter trade, buying and selling is their frequent activity. Most of the produce from the region is exported out of the lakes through these Chinese traders as well. Men from the area (mainly Iban) travel to Sarawak where they work as laborers.

With 3,600-mm rainfall per year the lakes are almost continuously filled with fresh water flowing into the Kapuas. Only during a short period from July to September does the water retreat causing some lakes to completely dry out. Water levels may rise and fall some 8 to 14 meters during average years. However, some years, like 1995 and 1996, no dry season occurred keeping water levels high.

This seasonality has great consequences for the vegetation. As a result most of the forests in the area are stunted forests, submerged for most of the year. In the dry season there is a great danger of forest fires, as relatively dense canopies dry out, and dried fallen leaves and wood act as a fuel layer on the soil. In the hillsides surrounding the reserve, forests continue to be cleared for shifting cultivation.

The end of the dry season is followed by a rise in water level, which leads to bud induction and a massive blooming from December to February. This period of flower abundance is vital to the honeybee colonies. Due to the absence of a dry season in 1995 there was almost no honey harvest in early 1996. Beekeepers recalled the same phenomenon happening in 1969 and 1970. De Mol reported that 1931 was such a "wet" year (de Mol 1933).

The flooded forest vegetation consists of a dense system of thin branches and twigs, its canopy rises 6m (during the high water season) to 12 m (low water season) above the water level.

Unlike the submerged forests of U Minh in Vietnam where Melaleuca leucadendron is the single dominant species, the Danau Sentarum flooded forest contains a variety of tree species. According to the honey collectors around 20 species are important for honey production. However, tembesu (Fagrea fragrans) is most important as it is used for making the tikung or honey planks. At present beekeepers recognise the following important nectar (i.e. honey) source trees:

Masung (Syzygium claviflora), tahun (Carallia bracteata), tengelam (Syzygium sp.), put at (Barringtonia acutangula), kawi (Shorea balangeran), pecaras or bakras (Homalium caryophyllum), samak (Syzygium sp.) ubah (Syzygium ducifolium) and lebang (Vitex pinnata). The most popular are honeys from masung and tahun, which confirms the findings of de Mol (1933).

Superior honey is said to be produced from nectar of the ransa palm (Eugeissona ambigua) but this plant is very rare nowadays. The palm was heavily exploited in times of famine for its starch content.

Honey from putat, kawi, and timba tawang (Crudia teysmannia) are known for their bitter taste and, therefore, are less favored.

Tembesu wood and rattan (e.g. Calamus schizoarranthus) are among the most exploited products in the reserve. Tembesu hardwood from the wetland is preferred over dryland tembesu (Giesen 1987).

However, timber and rattan exploitation account for only 7% of the total overall income of the total population (6 and 1 percent respectively). By far the largest portion of income for the Malay is generated via fish resources: 89% (lake and river fish: 50%; caged fish: 30% and ornamental fish 9%). Honey production, though variable from year to year, contributes roughly 1% (Wickham 1995).

Honey Hunting Practice (2)

Although the tikung system is the most typical honey production method practised in the reserve, honey hunting from tall bee trees--a practice common to Asia and most probably much older than tikung--is also popular in this region.

This technique is locally called Lalau in Malay, or Tapang which is Iban for bee tree. (3) On elevated land and riverbanks adjacent to the lake area these tall trees often stand alone, due to clearing for agriculture on the levees. This marks the fact that these lalau or tapang are respected trees due to ownership, religious beliefs, or simply economic value. Between 10-50 and often up to 200 bees nests of Apis dorsata can be seen hanging from the thicker branches at 15-30 m high from the trunk forming a wide canopy. Although the bee colonies seasonally migrate to settle on the lalau tree, some trees have nests all year round. Others may only show abandoned combs during part of the year. Swarms (kaban) settle from December to February and are said to come from the hills or stone mountains that can be seen at a distance surrounding the lakes. A second arrival of bees is said to occur each year from July until October. Honey is harvested on moonless nights in February. Starting in January some colonies from the se lalau trees are said to move to the tikung area--the dwarf or stunted forests in the lakes.

Although local customary laws (hukum adat) protect lalau trees, the number of these prominent trees is said to be decreasing due to the incidence of lightning and thunderstorm. (4) Also the cutting of bee trees is reported. (5) Due to clearance of the forest on the riverbanks no trees are available to the bees, as no new lalau have been planted. In primary forest sites young lalau trees are recognised by the people and protected.

Ownership of a lalau tree is maintained for life and can be inherited. Local customary laws define ownership, which has to be recognised by the local leadership. If accepted, the whole community is informed; no marks are made on the tree. Determining the right time of harvest is important, and once it is decided, the village head communicates this to all lalau owners and families that have the right to share part of the harvest. In the past, in the Kapuas River delta this communication sometimes required overnight travel for the messenger who carried a piece of knotted rattan, indicating the number of days remaining until the night of harvest (Dunselman 1959).

Harvest is done at or around the new moon. In most cases a group of local shamans-specialised bee hunters-gather for this activity. A few days before the harvest they start making a ladder (tatok or tatole) along the trunk of the bee tree up to the branches. Wooden pegs 30 cm long (pakau or jantak) made of bamboo are hammered (by a palu, pemalu or tukul) into the tree trunk at a distance of 1.5-2 m. A long pole (sengayan) is attached to the end of each peg by rattan. When the ladder is finished, the harvest can commence. Usually around 7 pm, one or two honeyhunters ascend the ladder with a smouldering torch (tebauk or sempon) made of dried roots of jabai (Ficus microcarpa), a wooden knife (beladau) and a basket (rintong or terenong) attached to the hunter's waist by a long piece of rope.

The hunters sing songs at various stages of the harvest. There appears to be a basic text formula, which is sung in 5 stages: (I) finishing the ladder; (2) clearing the bees from the nest; (3) cutting the comb; (4) hoisting the basket; and (5) descending the ladder. The songs pass from fathers to sons and are sung to the spirits of the trees to make them friendly.

The songs are humorous and tease the crowd below, who respond with a whooping yell. Often honey is mentioned in reference to a women or young girl's beauty and their sexual attractiveness. Local and regional politics can also receive mention in the spontaneous lyrics of the creative singers/honey hunters (Anonymous 1996, Dunselman 1959, and de Vries 1994).
We recorded one such song by a Malay honey hunter from Semalah (6):


Tempukung sekuta bangan
Oh nemiak belahar nyumpit
Pakau ku tuntung tapang dan
Udah ku anjak enda begerak
Udah ku init enda beretit
Paya lucak ulu Tempunak
Ningkam di dalam ulu Sekayam


Bukan emas sembarang emas
Emas pelinggang se dari Jawa
Bukan tepas sembareng tepas
Serdap di diam si jaga rengas


There are nests of ants in the jungle.
Children learn to shoot the sumpit (blow darts).
I have already made the pakau (ladder steps) on the tapang tree.
I climbed, but the ladder didn't move.
Mud in the upper Tempunak river.
And in the upper Sekayam river
O...o...o... (yelling by the crowd)


Not just any gold.
This gold pan is from Java.
Not just to clear away the bees.
But to make the spirits of the rengas tree friendly.


Tetak kayu si tetak kayu
Tetak kayu secapit Ubah
Anang nuan seisi' madu
Pecit susu dara di rumah


Ngiang-ngiang akar genali
Unjung di rumpu' setabah tabah
Jaga nuan ini' Sengiang Tali
Kami ngulur lingang bunga lingang kebaca


Perang alu, perang kelelap
Perang di lengkong si kayu ara
Pulang ayu, pulang semengat
Pulang semua kita berdua


Cut the log, cut the log.
The logs are cut from the ubah tree.
Don't have any honey.
Else I'll squeeze the girl's breast in the house.


Hanging around the roots of the genali tree.
Don't be afraid to bring it to the grass.
Ask Grandmother Sengiang Tali to protect you.
We are bringing down some honey from the kebaca tree's flower.


We've fought against the bess.
We've fought against the ara tree's twisted bumps.
Go home spirits.
Let's go home all of us.

Once the honey hunter reaches the branch above a comb, a wooden knife is used to cut the comb. With a smouldering torch the bees are brushed away from the comb, after which they disappear as falling sparks. (7) It is believed that an iron knife should not be used in order not to wound the bark of the tree, after which the bees will not return. In some cases the broodcomb (sarang anak) is cut separately and thrown below. The honeycomb is then cut and put into the basket that is lowered to the ground. Traditionally a piece of honeycomb is also thrown to the ground in order to please any bad spirits (pedara).

Honey collected from a single lalau tree may be hundreds of kilograms, depending on the number of nests. Rouquette (1995) witnessed a crop of 140 kg from more than 20 nests on one lalau tree. In this case 16 people, owners and hunters alike, shared the honey. Division of harvests seems to vary with every situation. Agreements are most probably made ad hoc prior to harvest.

Bee nests in lalau trees are said to contain more honey compared with tikung nests. However, losses due to spillage are higher with lalau. The actual honey crop from a nest of a lalau tree is much less than 10 kg. As mentioned above, in the lake region honey harvest from lalau trees is of less importance than from tikung. In recent years the proportion of lalau honey has declined due to the decreasing number of la/au trees. Furthermore, tikung is more popular as it is an easier and safer way to crop honey.

Apart from honey, beeswax is also collected, mainly refined from the honeycombs. The combs are boiled after which the liquid is filtered. A nest with 6 kg of honey would also render about 0.5 kg of wax. Prices were relatively high in January 1996 due to scarcity: about 2,500 Rp. (about 1.20 US$) for 1 kg of honey and 3,000 Rp. for 1 kg of wax. Bee brood (mainly larvae and first stage pupae) from a harvested comb is consumed instantaneously by the villagers.


Besides Apis dorsata nests on la/au trees, another type of wild nests is referred to as repak or terepak: trees in the forests that host single or only a few nests without the assurance of colonies coming back to the same tree in subsequent years.

Such trees can be of any size and are found as tall trees in the rainforest as well as in stunted trees. Instead of the tree, the finder claims ownership of the nest. In order to do so they temporarily mark the tree (pal), or place a board (kecilik) indicating their ownership of the nest, after which they give notice to the village headman. In regions where much honey is collected from repak, (in stunted submerged forests) tikung production is also high. In the higher forests some tall repak trees may become la/au trees (i.e., trees to which bee colonies return to make their nest year after year). (8)


Among the honey hunters that collect honey using the la/au and repak systems, many (mostly Malays living along the lakes) also collect honey using the tikung technique. Tikung is the name of a carved hardwood plank (approximately 0.8-2.5 m long by 25-40 cm wide); one side has a convex and the other side a concave shape. It is made of tembesu (Fagraea fragrans) or sometimes medang (Litsea sp.). It takes a man more than one day to make a tikung plank.

Such planks are attached to tree branches in the stunted submerged forests. The ends of the planks are carved with notches (mainly rectangular, but sometimes V-shaped) to which a wooden peg is inserted, thus attaching it to a branch.

Tikung planks are positioned with a slope of about 30[degrees] with the upper part oriented towards the open sky. The concave side faces downward, so the upper convex side can facilitate rainwater runoff. Sometimes a pole is horizontally attached about 2 m below the tikung to permit the owners to stand on it while attaching and/or harvesting it.

Tikung planks can last over 2 generations (40 years), and can still be used after enduring a serious forest fire.

Ownership of a tikung is indicated by an owner's mark (tikap), usually a series of indentations at the side of the plank, recognised as the family mark. Each new generation adds a new indent (taka). This mark system is complicated, but well understood by all tikung holders in the same area.

In one day 5 to 6 tikung planks can be positioned in the submerged forest, which is usually 2 meters above the highest water level during rainy season. Trees preferred to hang tikung planks are kamsia (Mesua hexapetala), masung (Syzygium claviflora) and empai (Crudia teysmannia).

Bee swarms arrive at tikung areas during the same period as the la/au (i.e., December to February), which also depends on the timing of the preceding dry season. However, the tikung harvest period is always after a lalau harvest. Prior to the arrival of the swarms, some minor clearance of the tikung undergrowth and a small boat channel to the tikung may be made. The last blossoms from the tahun (Carallia bracteata) indicate that honey is ready for harvest.

Honey collection from tikung resembles that from lalau. However, no songs are sung, as no spirits are believed to live in tikung trees. It is a collective practice. Harvest is done on moonless nights, usually from 7 p.m. till 4-5 am during which more than 20 tikung can be harvested.9

Harvest tools are similar to those for lalau. At present a plastic or tin container is used instead of the traditional bark/rattan basket. A wooden knife (never an iron one) is used to cut the comb. Tikung honey collectors believe that if the comb is cut with iron, the bees won't return to the site next season. Also there is a fear for wounding each other in the dark when harvesting with a sharp iron knife. No protective clothing is worn.

The nests are approached in small boats (sampan). A man reaches up close to the tikung to smoke away the bees. All bees either fall into the water and drown or crawl up to branches and leaves, as it is too dark to navigate and fly. In order to ensure floating bees do not crawl into the boat, other men in the boat use paddles (or their hands) to move the water away from the boat. Usually the brood comb (sarang anak) is first cut and put on top of the tikung plank. Then the honeycomb, usually at the head of the tikung is cut and put into a basket.

Bees are not likely to return to the tikung the following day and are believed to return to the mountain area. All tikung nests in the same vicinity must be harvested the same night to avoid some remaining nests being robbed by other bees.

Tikung owners are mainly Malay men, however, during harvest nights women and children may join as well. Traditionally the tikung owners within the same area formed groups (kelompok tikung), who abide by their own rules and regulations (hukum adat) These groups also put their tikung in the same area. Both that area and the groups are called priyau. In the past each priyau belonged to headmen, who gave his subordinates rights to place the tikung. The priyau area was hereditary and sometimes subdivided to each one of the inheritants. The owner marks on the tikung reflect these interdependencies of tikung holders in the same priyau caused by inheritance. (10)

At present rules applying to tikung owners in the same priyau include: a minimum number of tikung to be put up (e.g. 25 in Leboyan); obligation to put all tikung in one priyau only; a minimum distance between two tikung positions (e.g. 15m in Leboyan); and report the number and positions of tikung to the head of the priyau ("Ketua priyau" (11)).

Rouquette's report (1995) gives data on the number of families, tikung holders and number of tikung per family for selected villages in five main tikung areas: 30% of the families owned tikung, one family having from 10-500 (in Leboyan the average was 81 per family (12)). The number of tikung occupied by bee nests for that season (1994) was around 23%.

Average honey yield per nest was around 6 kg. This figure was similar to individual beekeepers' responses when interviewed.

Based on extrapolation, Rouquette calculated a total production figure for all of the Danau Sentarum Lake area for that year to be between 20 and 25 tons. As such 1994 was believed a normal year. This is contrary to 1996, in which due to the absence of a dry (low water) season in 1995 almost no honey from tikung was collected. Based on her figures between 150 and 250 families engage in tikung honey collection, which roughly translates to 25% of the population. De Mol (1932) estimated 500 families engaged in tikung, i.e., approximately 50% of the lake's population during the time of research.

Honey and Beeswax Related Activities of the DSWR Conservation Project

In late 1994, the DSWR Conservation Project began a series of community-based income generating activities to act as "entry-points" to gain local interest in participating in other management and conservation initiatives of the project.

The rationale behind this work was that by facilitating alternative or improved community incomes for products made/harvested on a sustainable basis, the project would establish a greater incentive for communities to actively conserve and improve the management of the Reserve's resources. Through skills training, assistance in product development and design and improved marketing for previously unused or under-utilised natural resources, the DSWR Project helped increase the value of these resources and products for the benefit of both the natural resources and communities of DSWR.

This work initially began with a plan to bottle locally collected DSWR honey and market it directly to consumers in Pontianak. As honey was generally sold through a variety of traders before reaching the market, honey harvesters received a meagre portion of its end-sale value. By selling direct to Pontianak, the project hoped to significantly increase the value of the honey for the producers. (13) Based on the same principles, the project also embarked upon similar activities involving the design, production, and marketing of beeswax candles. (14)

Largely owing to the remote location and conservation status of the Reserve, the honey collected in the DSWR is organic and free of additives. This combined with the honey's unique natural flavors and characteristics, traditional harvesting techniques and its association as a non-timber forest product supporting local community development make this product highly marketable. In fact in the 18-month period from March 1995 to October 1996, the DSWR Project marketed over 2,000 kg in Pontianak, Jakarta, Riau, and Singapore. Demonstrating the broad marketability of this product--an additional 1,000-kg was also shipped to the UK in 1997.

Largely due to the similarity between the tikung collection system practised by the honeyhunters in the flooded forests of DSWR and the rafter honeyboard system in southern Vietnam, the DSWR project was approached by Vincent Mulder (a representative of CIDSE--a Dutch development NGO and NECTAR--the Netherlands Centre for Tropical Apicultural Resources) to facilitate an exchange between DSWR honey collectors and their counterparts who collect honey in the seasonally flooded melaleuca forests of the U Minh Forest in the Minh Hai Province of southern Vietnam.

The first part of the exchange took place in January 1996 with Mulder and Koon de'Baber attending. (15) The visit identified numerous similarities between the two traditional systems, but also highlighted techniques that could improve bee and colony management, honey harvesting, and wax processing in DSWR. Addressing some of these issues would help ensure the long-term sustainability of the bee colonies, increase the quantity and quality of the yields, and thereby advance the goals of conservation by improving the financial viability of the honey and beeswax enterprises.

These and other issues were discussed with honey harvesters from eight villages during the Mulder/de'Barber visit. (16) However, because honey collection techniques have been practised in the same way for generations, most individuals remained sceptical about the advantages of Mulder and de'Barber's advice. To overcome this, it was suggested that a field visit to the U Minh Forest, where honey collectors from DSWR could see concrete examples of the recommended changes in management and harvesting practices for themselves, would be an excellent way to promote improvement to the tikung system in DSWR.

DSWR Honey Collectors' Study Tour to Vietnam

Three individuals from DSWR attended the study tour--this included two honey collectors from DSWR and one Project staff member experienced in bees. A representative of the Indonesian Ministry of Forests also joined. The group was lead by the Natural Resources Advisor of the DSWR Conservation Project.

During the Vietnamese Study Tour, the DSWR delegates attended a 2-day seminar and field trip where they exchanged their experiences in honeyboard placement, honeycomb management, harvesting, quality control production, and marketing of honey and beeswax with their Vietnamese counterparts.

The delegates also attended the 3rd Annual Apicultural Association Conference in Hanoi where they learned about the beekeeping systems of other Asia and Pacific Rim countries.

Lessons Learned to Improve the Traditional Tikung Honey Collections System of DSWR

In general, the DSWR participants gained a greater understanding about the value of bees and bee products and the various types of beekeeping and management systems throughout Asia. More importantly, they became more aware of the significant interest in, and importance of, their honey harvesting system. In particular, they were exposed to many ideas, techniques, and concepts which have the potential to produce larger quantities of improved quality honey and beeswax and so generate additional income for their communities, while also supporting principles of sustainable development.

Below are some of the techniques that the DSWR project field staff initiated with the honey harvesters of Danau Sentarum. Following the completion of the DSWR Conservation Project, these initiatives continued to be implemented by the Yayasan Dian Tama field staff. (17)

Following the Vietnamese Study Tour, Project staff undertook basic training workshops and discussions with honey harvesters on how to improve their harvesting and processing techniques. Some of these techniques (i.e. 1 and 3) involved harvesting demonstrations in the field, while other techniques (i.e. 6 and 7) were best taught through the design and distribution of a simple poster showing a step-by-step approach to each technique. For other techniques (i.e. 2, 4 and 5) basic proto-types were constructed and shared among honey harvesters to help demonstrate their advantages.
Table 1

Techniques for Improved Tikung Beekeeping and Honey/Beeswax Yields

Current Practice in Problems with Suggested
DSWR (tikung) Practice Improvement

1. Honey combs are * Bees need daylight to * If daytime harvesting
 collected at navigate is combined with
 night when bees * Night harvest results
 are most decile in bees
 loosing it allows bees to
 orientation, navigate and
 falling in wate return to the
 and dying comb to
 * Remaining bees continue
 scatter and do producing
 not build new honey.
 combs or
 produce more

2. Bees are * High bee * Hand-held
 distracted from mortality as a "smokers" can
 combs with result of bees be used to ward
 smoke from being burned off bees with no
 smouldering * Potential forest direct exposure
 torches with fire hazard to burning
 exposed/ embers.
 burning embers

3. Honeycombs are * Potential quality * Selected cutting
 harvested only of honey harvest of only the
 once per season, is under-utilised honey portion of
 * Full financial the comb
 value of wax (leaving the
 and honey is lost brood intact)
 would permit 2-
 3 harvests per

4. Honeycombs are * Imprecise * Using metal
 traditionally cutting of comb knife would
 harvested by leads to ensure only
 cutting with unnecessary honey-portion of
 wooden knives, comb damage comb is
 and reduced harvested
 honey * Remaining
 production comb can be left
 to yield more

5. Honeycombs are * Results in rapid * Some protective
 harvested harvesting and gear could be
 without increased used from
 protective gear. damage to simple head-nets
 combs to gloves
 * Greater
 likelihood for
 bee mortality

6. Honey is * Pollen is mixed * Combs should
 generally with honey be cut into small
 extracted from resulting in pieces, placed
 the combs by cloudy honey on clean cloth
 squeezing entire with less market and allowed to
 combs by hand. appeal drain over night
 * Unhygienic

7. Beeswax is * Potential * A system of
 often quantity of wax melting the wax
 contaminated, harvest is under- in boiling water,
 discarded, or utilised cloth strained
 incompletely * Additional and processing
 harvested, financial value with a stick-
 to collector is wax-press can
 lost yield up to 47%
 more wax

Current Practice in Advantage
DSWR (tikung)

1. Honey combs are * Lower bee
 collected at mortality during
 night when bees * Increased
 are most decile sustainability of
 bee colonies

2. Bees are * Lower bee
 distracted from mortality
 combs with * Reduced risk of
 smoke from forest fire
 torches with
 burning embers

3. Honeycombs are * Quantity of
 harvested only honey harvest
 once per season, increases
 * Income to
 * Incentive to
 protect forest

4. Honeycombs are * Allows combs to
 traditionally be harvested
 harvested by multiple times in
 cutting with same season
 wooden knives, * Additional
 benefits as

5. Honeycombs are * More time and
 harvested care can be
 without taken during
 protective gear. harvest
 * Reduced
 damage to comb
 and bees
 * May ensure
 fewer hives

6. Honey is * Quality of honey
 generally increases
 extracted from * Incomes to
 the combs by communities
 squeezing entire increases
 combs by hand. * Incentive to
 protect forest

7. Beeswax is * Quality and
 often quantity of wax
 contaminated, increases
 discarded, or * Incomes to
 incompletely community
 harvested, increases
 * Incentive to
 protect forest

(1.) This is one project under the Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme. The DSWR Conservation Project was implemented by Wetlands International-Indonesia Programme.

(2.) In this paper we only deal with Apis dorsata (mwonji) that produces almost all of the honey in the area. However Apis florea/andreniformis (Mwonji lalat) is present in the area and is only occasionally hunted. Apis cerana (nyerungan) is rare for the lake region, but is found in tree cavities in the higher rain forest surrounding the reserve. Also stingless bees (engke lulut) are known to produce small amounts of honey.

(3.) Tree species that bees occupy in this area are predominantly: rengas: Gluta renghas; tempurau: Dipterocarpus gracilis; ran: D. tempehes; and menungau: Vatica menungau.

(4.) In Meliau 22 lalau 6 persons currently own trees. 10 years ago this number of trees was 30, 8 have been felled by storm and/or lightning.

(5.) Around 1960 183 lalau trees were cut by their Iban owners near Semalah village, for purpose of shifting cultivation. At present only 6 trees remain. Reasons for cutting here also include low honey prices or area disputes. Such latter conflicts, mainly between Iban and Malay groups date back more than a hundred years, when little kingdoms tried to increase their territories (see Colfer et al, 1993).

(6.) Thanks to the singer Mr. Abdullah Sani. He sang this song in the presence of many villagers in the house while it was recorded on video.

(7.) A video made by Michael Gries, (Inst. fur Bienenkunde Oberursel, Germany) on such bee tree harvesting, was shown during the 3rd Asian Apicultural Association Conference in Hanoi and shows such nocturnal activity in great detail, using infrared camera recording techniques. It can clearly be observed that some bees fall down as sparks, others falling without being affected by the flames, though not able to fly and orient itself.

(8.) Typical repak tree species are: engkunik: Antidesma stipulare; engkupak: Baccaurea racemosa; Rengas: Gluta renghas; and tengkurung asam: Microcos ceramensis (Rouquette 1995. Honey Harvesting: Developing Alternative Sources of Income in the Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve, West Kalimantan, Indonesia., Pontianak: Danau Sentarum Wildlife Conservation Project: Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme).

(9.) In discussions with beekeepers, they said to harvest during the daytime would be very dangerous as bees sting fiercely during this time. However, in the village of Belibis we were told that in recent years a small group of tikung holders had started daytime collecting, using large quantities of smoke. They now seemed to favour daytime harvest as it could be done more rapidly, due to better visibility. After a harvest, the bees returned to the tikung for some days, after which they would swarm away.

(10.) We found such mark lineages among priyau members in Belibis. As a rule a new tikung owner adds one more indents to the mark from which he inherited ownership.

(11.) De Mol (1933) uses the name Kepala tikung, who would only be in charge seasonally, as the fishing communities during part of the year moved elsewhere.

(12.) By contrast, in 1932 De Mol found an average of 90 tikung per family in Leboyan.

(13.) The initial stages of this work are reported in Rouquette. (1995. Honey Harvesting: Developing Alternative Sources of Income in the Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Pontianak: Danau Sentarum Wildlife Conservation Project: Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme).

(14.) A more thorough description of these and similar products produced by the residents of DSWR and the development of a DSWR Conservation Products Enterprise are described in Wickham, Trevor. 1997b. Two Years of Community-Based Participation in Wetland Conservation--A Review of the Activities and Challenges of the Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve Conservation Project, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia: Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve Conservation Project, Project 5: Conservation, Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme. and Wickham, Trevor. 1997a. Continuing the Development of the Danau Sentarum Conservation Products Trading Enterprise (1997-2000). Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve, West Kalimantan, Indonesia: Danau Sentarum Wildlife Reserve Conservation Project, Project 5: Conservation, Indonesia-UK Tropical Forest Management Programme. A review of the continuation of these initiatives by Yayasan Dian Tama following the end of the Indonesia-UK sponsored DSWR Conserva tion Project activities in 1997 is contained in Heri, Valentinus, Ade Jumhur, and Tri Renya Altaria. 2000. "Laporan Akhir Proyek-Kegiatan Pembinaan Hasil-Hasil Hutan Bukan Kayu di Taman Nasional Danau Sentarum Juli 1997-Juni 2000. Pontianak: Yayasan Dian Tama..

(15.) Unfortunately, due to visa difficulties, the Vietnamese honey harvesters from U Minh could not attend.

(16.) The results of this study tour are contained in Mulder, Vincent. 1996a. Summary of the Results of the Study Visit to the Upper Kapuas Lake Region, West Kalimantan on Tikung Beekeeping (9-19 January, 1996) and Mulder, Vincent. 1996b. Traditional Honey and Wax Collection with Apis Dorsata in the Upper Kapuas Lake Region, West Kalimantan. in 3rd Asian Apiculture Association Conference. Hanoi, Vietnam.

(17.) Following the completion of the Indonesia/UK Tropical Forest Management Programme's support to the DSWR Conservation Project, a Pontianak-based NGO--Yayasan Dian Tama--with the financial assistance of the British Embassy (Jakarta) and Global Concern (Singapore)--continued to develop and implement many of the activities of the DSWR Conservation Products Trading Enterprise (Heri, Valentinus, Ade Jumhur, and Tri Renya Altaria. 2000, Laporan Akhir Proyek--Kegiatan Pembinaan Hasil-Hasil Hutan Bukan Kayu di Taman Nasional Danau Sentarum Juli 1997-Juni 2000. Pontianak: Yayasan Dian Tama).


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Author:Wickham, Trevor
Publication:Borneo Research Bulletin
Geographic Code:90SOU
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Previous Article:Danau Sentarum's wildlife: part 2. Habitat characteristics and biodiversity distribution within and surrounding Danau Sentarum.
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