Climate change in the land of pigs and honey

Climate change in the land of pigs and honey
By Euronews
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Giuseppe Miranti, organic farmer:

“It’s unusual to see piglets at this time of year. The sows normally give birth in the spring or autumn, because the conditions are better to raise youngsters.

Changes in climate have long been affecting my work.

We are in July now, so these animals will be ready for slaughter in July of next year. But we already know that we won’t be able to process the meat because of the high temperatures.

In 1998, when I graduated in Agriculture, my teachers showed us this plant, known as Ailanthus or American Walnut, to show us an example of an emerging plant, plants typical of a tropical sub-continental climate.

I looked at it closely, simply because it wasn’t a part of our landscape. Now, ten or so years on, this plant has colonized all our undergrowth.

We produce acacia honey from the flowers of this plant, production which is affected by this one which flowers for much longer and contaminates the single-flower honey. So we can no longer call it pure acacia honey. We have to downgrade it, and call it simply wildflower honey.

Climate change has influenced a lot of the bees’ activity, because it is an insect which is key for both an organic farm, and for the ecosystem surrounding the bees themselves. These are small insects that live on signals, impulses sent by the world around. Light, temperature, heat, seasons… they all communicate precise messages to the bees.

Mild winters like we have experienced in recent years confuse the hive into thinking spring has arrived much earlier.

And that stresses the bees.

And because the period of flowering has changed, there’s even more stress.

That’s why single-flower honey, such as those obtained some years ago, like acacia honey, is often contaminated by other nectar. The hive isn’t as strong or dynamic, and the bees are increasingly forced to visit more flowers during the same period of time.

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