Bang Kad: A Reflection of Local Wisdom to find Wild Honey and Ecological Use of Resources in Melaleuca Forest in the Songkhla Lake Basin

Sawarin Bendem-Ahlee, Jawanit Kittitornkool, Somyot Thungwa, Utai Parinyasutinun


The purposes of this study were to explore traditional knowledge in ecological use of resources in the case of honey hunting in a Melaleuca forest. The study was conducted in Khuan So Sub-District, Khuan Niang District, Songkhla Province, a community in the lower Songkhla Lake Basin. The data were collected through interviews with 20 honey hunters and other related people including directors of the Community Enterprise groups, local elderly and customers both retailers and consumers. A survey and analysis of forest conditions, focus group discussions, participatory observations, and related documents and research reports were used in the data analysis procedure.

The results of the study revealed that most honey from the Melaleuca forest was from large-sized honeybees, Apis dorsata frabicius, that cannot be raised. Nevertheless, Khuan So community has interesting traditional knowledge in honey hunting, that is, building hives similar and harmonious with nature called “Bang Kad”. These hives have been passed down for over a century, accumulated from the age of honey sellers who are now 102 years, eventhough the community of Khuan So, was established as a formal settlement only seven decades ago, in 1940. The community has an ecological way of collecting honey taking into account sustainable use of honey bees that reflects on coexistence of humans and forests. As time has changed from the past to the present, the community had to adapt for survival and security of life that is dependent on fertility of resources. Thus, the knowledge of honey hunting has partially changed with some similarities and differences from the past, and there has been a change in materials used in making hives in which concrete is used instead of wood, and the word “Bang Kad” may be changed as “Home stay of bee” or “Resort of bee”, also to make it easier to understand, a “Bang Kad” is a home where bees stay.

Despite the changes, the traditional knowledge of wild honey hunting and bee hunting is important in the ecology, economy, and social systems of the community. It is local wisdom that reflects the complex interrelationship between knowledge, belief, and practice covering the knowledge level and management system and taking the next generations into account. The conflict mitigation process is based on a closely kinship relationship. The social institutions overseeing resource management, worldview, religion, culture, belief, and ethics that influence enforcement of community rules and regulations reflect the use of power: both community power and supernatural power. As can be seen, traditional knowledge in ecological use of resources of Khuan So community is potentially ready to link and to be integrated with knowledge from the outside for community forest management. Therefore, it is challenging to have integrated cooperation for sustainable community forest management in the Songkhla Lake Basin.

Keywords: Local Wisdom; Ecological Use of Resources; Wild Honey; Melaleuca Forest; Songkhla Lake Basin

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