Beekeeping Potential, Richness, and Distribution of Plant Species Foraged by Stinging Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera L.) in West Kilimanjaro Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) Plantation.
An assessment of beekeeping potential, richness, and distribution of plant species foraged by stinging honey bee Apis mellifera L. in West Kilimanjaro Tanzania Forest Service Agency (TFS) Plantation area was conducted in 2020. A total of 40, 20 m x 20 m plots were set on the 5 natural vegetation remnants within the plantation forest ranges of Sanya juu, Lemosho, Hill wood, Wasendo, and Londrosi at an interval of 100 m. Within the 20 m x 20 m, 1 m x 1 m nested plots were established to assess herbs, sedge, grasses, and seedlings, while 2 m x 5 m were established to determine shrubs. Agriculture crops grown by the bordering villagers were identified and evaluated for the bee forage potential. Plant species richness (S) was determined from the total number of plant species identified from every site using the Shannon Weiner Diversity Index (H’). Plant species distribution was determined grounded on the frequency (F) and evenness (E) were determined. The sites were revealed to have high plant species diversity foraged by stinging honey bees. A total of 204 plant species belonging to 76 families and 178 genera were identified. The calculates H’ of 2.37 for non-wood plants and 3.05 for wood plants implied high plant diversity. The most distributed plant species had a relative frequency (RF) of 6.250 ± 3.0303, while the rest had an RF < 3.0303. The disappearance of one species does not cause any significant effect on bees, as they can go for another species in the area. 92% of non-woody plants and 94% of the identified woody plants were known to be foraged by stinging honey bees. The evenness (E) of 0.7484 for non-wood plants and 0.795 implied that the plants in all categorize were not evenly distributed. West Kilimanjaro Forest Plantation (WKFP) natural forest patches are potential for honey beekeeping. Stinging honey bee fodder plants should be planted, regular visits to the project sites should be exercised to protect honey theft, spot clearing to give a room for naturally germinated seedlings covered by climbers. Further study should be done on the biological species diversity, training to beekeeping staff, and plan for regular inspection of the honey bee colony strength will help to reveal any challenges facing the venture including diseases and hives strengths and weakness.
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