Beekeepers join forest campaign

Beekeeper Lintt Taylor at Wellsford Forest in 2012. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

Beekeeper Lintt Taylor at Wellsford Forest in 2012. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

BENDIGO district beekeepers are supporting a campaign to reclassify Wellsford Forest as a national park.

Wellsford Forest Conservation Alliance is leading a campaign to conserve the box-ironbark forest, currently listed as a state forest.

Commercial beekeeper Lintt Taylor of Myers Flat said it would be in the industry's best interests if the forest was conserved.

"I have been talking to other beekeepers who hold sites in that area and they're all for it going into a national park because it will secure our resource – trees – from timber harvesting," he said.

"It will only enhance the protection of the forest for us so we can utilise it for the important beekeeping industry."

Mr Taylor said the industry not only provided honey but was crucial for food security.

"Sixty-five per cent of the food we eat is pollinated by honey bees," he said.

"Almond orchards rely on honey bees for 99 per cent of their pollination." 

Mr Taylor said box-ironbark forests were vital for beekeepers.

"Summer and autumn flowering ironbarks are of particular importance within the Wellsford," he said.

"There are only small pockets which are very valuable to beekeepers."

Mr Taylor and his brother Trent have licences to place beehives in the forest and to harvest honey from them.

Warral Honey owner and operator Lindsay Callaway is based at Maldon and said his family had been beekeeping in the Wellsford Forest since the late 1950s.

"I’m a producer and a packer and the honey from Wellsford Forest is excellent quality," he said.

"It's very good both in terms of colour, taste and quantity so it’s a very good resource for us to have.

"As a beekeeper we need resources to be protected to be able to have a viable industry.

"We want the forest to have greater protection through becoming a national park."

State forests allow tree cutting for logs and firewood.

The Wellsford Forest Conservation Alliance has collected several hundred signatures in support of the forest becoming a national park.

City of Greater Bendigo councillors voted on Wednesday to support the campaign.

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