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The Bee Tree

The Malaysian Star

It’s all about bees and trees

"SUNGAI PETANI: A bee hunter family from Pedu, Kedah, and the tualang tree that can grow up to 80m tall are research subjects for an entomologist from the United States. Dr Stephen Buchmann from the University of Arizona has incorporated what he learnt here in a children’s book to be launched in the United States soon.

Bug’s tales: Dr Buchmann showing some of the illustrations and pictures in his book.“I have made eight trips to Pedu since attending a conference on bees in 1995 at Universiti Putra Malaysia,” he said.

He said that he had spent several years commuting between Arizona and Pedu to complete his research on Pak Teh, a bee hunter he had befriended. The book titled The Bee Tree has colourful illustrations and pictures. Dr Buchmann said: “The Bee Tree tells the story of Pak Teh, his years of scaling the tualang tree to collect bee hives and the passing on of his livelihood to his grandson Izam.”

“I’m doing a study on bees, flowers and the conservation of rainforests. Malaysia has among the oldest rainforests in Pedu where the tualang trees grow higher than the eye can see. These trees draw the world’s largest honeybees to build their colony of hives,” he said. Dr Buchmann said he hoped to do his bit in promoting Malaysia’s rainforests and bee-collecting culture in America. “Malaysia is relatively unknown in the United States and I hope to introduce the book to the Education Department there as it will be interesting reading material for children.”

The book has vibrant illustrations by his colleague Paul Mirocha. Dr Buchmann, accompanied by UPM’s Assoc Prof Dr Mahdir Mardan and Mirocha, also presented a copy of the book to Kedah’s Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah during an audience with the ruler at the Anak Bukit Palace in Alor Star recently."
- February 21, 2007 

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