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).
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.
The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...
Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.
The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2019 | Life Sciences