SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 15, No 2 (2015)

Honey Hunters’ Way of Life at Thung Bang Nok Ohk Forest in the Lower Songkhla Lake Basin amidst Climate Change in Southern Thailand

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










Abstract


In the Southern part of Thailand, especially in the Lower Songkhla Lake Basin, climate change has affected the way of life of the surrounding communities where people’s lives depend on natural resources. In Songkhla Province, Thung Bang Nok Ohk is the largest melaleuca forest to which Apis dorsata F. migrate in the beginning of the rainy season when melaleuca flowers begin to bloom. Wild honey has been an income source for people in the community for more than a century. The local wisdom used by villagers to hunt for wild honey is to make nests called “Bang Kad”. However, with changes in the environment like forest encroachments, forest fires and climate change, forests have been affected and villagers can perceive the changes, especially their occupation in harvesting wild honey. During the last decade, villagers know that the amounts of honey they can collect have been less than before. This article aims to reveal that villagers can perceive the climate change in the seasons of the year, the amount and intensity of rainfall, and the change of wind velocity. These factors affect the wild honey production and the income they make from selling it which has obviously declined. The number of “Bang Kad” they make to nest honeybees and that of beehives made by honeybees are in inverse relation, that is to say the number of “Bang Kad” increases while that of the beehives decreases. Because of their perception of the problems, wild honey hunters have gathered into a group of community enterprise that conserves giant honeybees. This is another way of preserving the forest for sustainable utilization by the community.

Keywords: Honey hunters, Wild honey, Melaleuca forest, Climate change, Songkhla Lake

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