Dr Christoph Rupprecht1, Dr Maximilian Spiegelberg1, Ms Rika Shinkai1, Dr Jingchao Gan2
1Research Institute For Humanity And Nature,Kyoto, Japan
2Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Bees are increasingly recognized by scholars and policy-makers for their crucial role in eco- and food-systems. Against the background of the extinction crisis and the steep decline of insect populations globally, research has focused on biological and ecological aspects of bees and other pollinators. In contrast, aside from some more-than-human research, work on the social aspects of bees and beekeeping, including of other species than Apis mellifera and beekeeping in Asia, remains scarce. Here we present results from an ongoing multi-year transdisciplinary project on beekeeping with a focus on the eastern honeybee (Apis cerana) and East Asia, particularly Japan. Results draw upon large-scale surveys of beekeepers and urban residents, in-depth interviews with beekeepers and stakeholders, participatory observation, multiple stakeholder workshops, and a survey of pesticides for uncontrolled home use. We present an analysis of social dynamics leading to a shift as professional (A. mellifera) beekeepers are retiring, and hobby (A. cerana) retiree beekeepers are increasing due to Japan’s aging society. We discuss insights into more-than-human-wildlife dynamics and development of a human-wildlife coexistence framework, and describe potential and challenges for urban beekeeping and bee-supporting policies in urban areas. Finally, we reflect on transdisciplinary practice and its challenges in present-day academia.
Christoph D. D. Rupprecht is a Senior Researcher with the FEAST project at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto. He received his PhD in urban geography, planning and ecology from Griffith University in 2015. His work focuses on more-than-human approaches to sustainability, in particular around issues of urban planning and design, food, and agriculture. Recent endeavors include combining speculative literature and gaming with sustainability studies to overcome anthropocentrism and envision desirable degrowth futures. Email: email@example.com