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dāram brings to the Hyderabad for the first time wild honey and bee wax products from the forests of the Nilgiris.
The ‘Last Forest’ range of wild bee products is being brought in collaboration the Kotagiri based ‘Keystone Foundation’ that works with tribal communities in the Nilgiri mountains for livelihood enhancement and forest conservation.
The products that will be available come from the lower Nilgiris, where a number of hunter-gatherer communities practise honey hunting and subsistence agriculture.
Honey and bee wax is collected from the forests by the tribal communities using their traditional methods and Keystone works towards value addition, marketing and creating awareness in the consumer communities.
Products that will be available include:
• Sweet honey, bitter honey and spiced honey in flavors of ginger, pepper and saffron
• Lip Balms in flavors of Honey, Strawberry, Pineapple and Orange
• Beeswax balms in scents of Eucalyptus, Coconut, Camphor, Olive, Lavender, Citronella and Winter Green
• Soaps in scents of Jasmine, Basil and Lemon Grass.
Keystone has been working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve over the last 15 years (since 1995) with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives. The Foundation’s work has been concentrated in the areas of apiculture, land development, organic & fair trade marketing, non timber forest produce and many more.
Traditional honey gathering is done by indigenous people of the Nilgiris. Keystone has undertaken work with the Kurumba and Irula communities to document their practices, provide training in better extraction methods, map the resources (bee populations) and monitor regularly, provide parameters for quality of honey and bees wax and provide marketing support for the produce.
The Nilgiris in the Western Ghats are home to moist, dry, evergreen and montane (shola) tropical forests. The Western Ghats, and the Nilgiris in particular, harbour a wealth of flora and fauna; much of which is restricted to the region. e.g. the endangered lion tailed macaque and the Nilgiri tahr. The Nilgiris forest ecosystem is, however, under pressures, e.g. from tea and coffee plantations, illegal, logging and commercial tree plantations with exotics initiated by the Forest Department. It also has a significant tribal population, dependent on natural resources for their livelihood; including the only surviving hunter-gatherers of the Indian sub-continent the Sholanaikans in the New Amarambalam region of Nilgiris. Given its distinct character, the Nilgiris forms part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (declared under the Man and Biosphere Programme of UNESCO).
Diversity of Forests
The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve includes all the important forest types that are to be found in South India as well as some that are just peculiar to the belt such as Tropical Thorn Forest, Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests, Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests, Tropical Semi Evergreen Forests, Sub Tropical Broad Leaved Forests, Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests, Southern Montane Wet Temperate Forests, Southern Montane Wet Grasslands and Subtropical Hill Savannas.