I read an interesting blog post today concerning beekeeping in the Sichuan mountain region of southwest China. According to the author, Richard Spencer, many residents of this region have received grants to start beekeeping after logging was banned. Over logging and the consequent flooding all but destroyed an area that was once the natural habitat of the panda. Spencer ends his post wondering "if it (beekeeping) can ever meet (the) farmers' dreams."
I wonder whether Sichuan is just heading for another ecological disaster. If Phil Chandler is correct (and I think he is) that ecologically sound, sustainable beekeeping is only possible when done on a small scale, then these farmers' dependence on commerical, apiculture as a means of economic survival is a short term solution in which the bees may pay an ecological cost.