As a team of researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Freiburg headed by the UFZ wrote in an article entitled "Spatial and temporal trends of global pollination benefit" the value of ecological pollination services was around 200 billion US dollars in 1993 and rose to around 350 billion US dollars in 2009. For the first time, the researchers were also able to show in which regions of the world pollination plays a particularly important role and agriculture is furthermore particularly dependent upon the pollination carried out by animals.
The researchers analysed this relationship on the basis of 60 crops, such as coffee, cocoa, apples and soya beans, which are dependent upon pollination by animals, mostly insects such as honeybees and wild bees, butterflies or bumble bees. These investigations enabled them to create a global map showing the dependence of agricultural yields upon pollination. "We can now estimate with a high degree of spatial resolution how large this contribution is in many regions", says the main author, Dr. Sven Lautenbach, researcher in the UFZ Department of Landscape Ecology. Particularly countries such as China, India, the USA, Brazil and Japan greatly benefit from pollination-dependent products. For the first time, the researchers have analysed this effect at the regional level: In the USA, for example, the dependence is particularly high in California and in the corn belt in the Midwest relatively unimportant. In Asia the northeast region of China is particularly dependent upon pollination, in Europe primarily the Mediterranean countries, such as Italy or Greece, and in Africa especially the region along the Nile in Egypt. For Germany the researchers found moderate dependencies - nevertheless, in Germany as well pollination is in no way immaterial.
Globally, the value of pollination-dependent agricultural products, and therefore the value of this ecosystem service, has risen continuously. This is attributable to a significant increase in production quantities for pollination-dependent crops. Since 2001 the costs of production for pollination-dependent crops have also risen significantly, indeed far faster than the prices of non-pollination-dependent field crops such as rice, grains or maize. For the researchers this is an indication that the intensification of agriculture is reflected in a global price increase for pollination-dependent cultures. When fields are sprayed with more pesticides, more fertilisers are applied and valuable agricultural structural elements, such as hedges and rows of trees, are transformed into fields, the insects vanish. Consequently, the extent of pollination is reduced, and this is reflected in higher production prices. "We see this price increase as an initial warning signal that conflicts could arise between the services of insect-related pollination and other agricultural interests", says Sven Lautenbach. For example, if such valuable habitats for insects as hedges, rows of trees or field margin structures continue to disappear and be transformed into agricultural areas or residential areas in the countries in which production takes place, in future the prices for coffee and cocoa will likely rise in future.
According to the calculations of the researchers, a potential decline of pollination could particularly affect those countries in which pollination-dependent crops or cultures represent a substantial part of the gross domestic product from agriculture. This includes, for example, Argentina, Belgium, China, Ghana, Honduras, the Ivory Coast, and Jordan. The researchers have also been able to show, that in countries such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cameroon or the Ukraine the relative dependence on these agricultural products has increased significantly between 1993 and 2009. In countries such as Egypt, India, Jordan or Turkey, on the other hand, the relative dependence declined during the same period.The results of the spatial analysis provide important information for nature conservation practice and political decisions. This enables the development of recommendations at the regional level for the protection of agricultural elements vital for the survival of insects. Furthermore, the information could be used to set up market instruments such as payment for ecosystem services (PES). This instruments could for example, require users benefitting from pollination services to pay for these services. "This could encourage incentives for the protection of insects and their pollination services", says Sven Lautenbach.
http://www.ufz.de/The Helmholtz Association contributes towards solving major and pressing social, scientific and economic issues with scientific excellence in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Aerospace and Transport. The Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation with over 33,000 employees in 18 research centres and an annual budget of approximately 3.4 billion euros. Its work stands in the tradition of the naturalist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction