Living Beehive Presents Healthy Ecosystems as Solution to Climate Change

28 November 2011

Construction of the CoP17 Beehive


On 30 November, the Living Beehive will be unveiled at the Durban Botanic Gardens. This 17 m in diameter and 9 m high art installation has been designed to showcase South Africa's rich blend of natural, cultural and mineral wealth at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 17 (COP 17).

Drawing on the traditional architecture of Zulu Beehive huts, the Living Beehive is built with high technology steel frames, covered with a living roof and walls.

Construction of the CoP17 Beehive

The Importance of Healthy Ecosystems

While engineering solutions have provided us with great improvements in development and human well-being, they alone are unlikely to help us deal with climate change. Healthy intact ecosystems - dependent on our rich biodiversity - also play an important role. They provide society with food, water, grazing and biomass - an important source of energy and building material. Ecosystems such as wetlands, grassy mountain catchments, forests and mangroves also store carbon (providing the most cost effective means of reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere), prevent siltation and flooding downstream and help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events and sea surges.

Construction of the CoP17 Beehive

Beehive's Living Walls Represent Healthy Ecosystems

The Beehives' living walls represent the importance of healthy ecosystems, and are populated with indigenous grasses, forbs and bulbs typical of the rolling hills of the grasslands in KwaZulu-Natal. Such grasslands provide grazing for cattle, habitat for medicinal plants, prevent soil erosion and ensure clean water provisioning for South Africa's major urban centres and the millions of people who inhabit them.

Construction of the CoP17 Beehive

Creepers hanging in dense mats down the sides of the Living Beehive, allow just enough air to circulate into the cool interior, while forest and wetland plants cling to the walls. The diversity of vegetation reflects the rich variety of goods and services that well functioning natural ecosystems give society.

People, Engineering and Biodiversity Working Together

The Living Beehive brings together people, engineering and biodiversity and shows that when these elements work in tandem, solutions to major challenges such as climate change can be found.

Joint Partners

The Beehive is a joint project funded by the Department of Environmental Affairs and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and implemented by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, eThekwini Municipality and the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust. It will remain in the Garden as a legacy of COP17.

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Submitted by Mushwana V.M. at 26/11/2013 - 13:11
We are in the process of seeking funding to enable us a take off the ground with regard to our beehive project on the farm and we learnt that through the assistant of united nations your dream has come true. May you please assist us with anything that shall lead to the success of our project. project situated in limpopo, tzaneen. contact 073 270 9156/015 3072315. farm name is 18 carlafornia.
Submitted by juan strauss at 11/04/2013 - 15:38
you should see the hive now it looks like a compost heap

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