How honey benefits both people and nature

Honey is a versatile commodity: The sticky natural sweetener goes with everything, from chamomile tea to chicken wings, and is often used as a substitute for processed sugar. It can be a powerful tool for conservation, too, benefiting local communities and ecosystems alike.



Total land clearing or cultivation required for apiculture, which in fact relies on healthy forests and other bee-friendly habitats.

Traced to the tree

In Sumatra’s Thirty Hills landscape, WWF and partners are working with the Indigenous Talang Mamak people to expand traditional honey production in one of the last remaining rain forests. A new project now allows consumers to trace individual jars of honey to specific harvesters and trees to ensure that the honey they buy came from a forest- and wildlife-friendly source—and provides profits to local communities.

Honeybee perched on measuring spoon

1/12 TSP.

Amount of honey the average honeybee produces in its lifetime.

Bottle of honey with magnifying glass© ISTOCK.COM/BORCHEE

Green honey?

Conventional honey production can stress bee colonies by using oversized hives to encourage more production or by harvesting honey during the wrong season. Traditional and sustainable methods take a more holistic approach: Beekeepers may leave part of the hive alone to increase long-term production or climb high into trees to harvest honey from naturally occurring hives.


WWF supports various sustainable honey harvesting and traditional beekeeping, or apiculture, projects around the world. By investing in these alternative livelihoods, WWF helps communities reduce their reliance and pressure on at-risk or depleted ecosystems, including forests and fishing grounds, while also increasing their income.

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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