Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Economic value of insect pollination worldwide estimated at 153 billion euros

16.09.2008
INRA and CNRS French scientists and a UFZ German scientist found that the worldwide economic value of the pollination service provided by insect pollinators, bees mainly, was €153 billion in 2005 for the main crops that feed the world.

This figure amounted to 9.5% of the total value of the world agricultural food production. The study also determined that pollinator disappearance would translate into a consumer surplus loss estimated between €190 to €310 billion. The results of this study on the economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline are published in the journal "ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS".

Among biodiversity concerns, the decline of pollinators has become a major issue, but its impact remains an open question. In particular, the economic value of the pollination service they provide had not been assessed on solid ground to date. Based upon the figures of the literature review published in 2007* on pollinator dependence of the main crops used for food, the study just published in ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS uses FAO and original data to calculate the value of the pollinator contribution to the food production in the world. The total economic value of pollination worldwide amounted to €153 billion in 2005, which represented 9.5% of the value of the world agricultural production used for human food that year.

Three main crop categories (following FAO terminology) were particularly concerned ; fruits and vegetable were especially affected with a loss estimated at €50 billion each, followed by edible oilseed crops with €39 billion. The impact on stimulants (coffee, cocoa…), nuts and spices was less, at least in economic terms.

The scientists also found that the average value of crops that depend on insect pollinators for their production was on average much higher than that of the crops not pollinated by insects, such as cereals or sugar cane (€760 and €150 per metric ton, respectively). The vulnerability ratio was defined as the ratio of the economic value of insect pollination divided by the total crop production value. This ratio varied considerably among crop categories with a maximum of 39% for stimulants (coffee and cocoa are insect-pollinated), 31% for nuts and 23% for fruits. There was a positive correlation between the value of a crop category per production unit and its ratio of vulnerability ; the higher the dependence on insect pollinators, the higher the price per metric ton.

From the standpoint of the stability of world food production, the results indicate that for three crop categories – namely fruits, vegetables and stimulants – the situation would be considerably altered following the complete loss of insect pollinators because world production would no longer be enough to fulfil the needs at their current levels. Net importers, like the European Community, would especially be affected. This study is not a forecast, however, as the estimated values do not take into account all the strategic responses that producers and all segments of the food chain could use if faced with such a loss. Furthermore, these figures consider a total loss of pollinators rather than a gradual decline and, while a few studies that show a linear relationship between pollinator density and production, this must be confirmed.

The consequence of pollinator decline on the well being of consumers, taken here in its economic sense, was calculated based on different price elasticities of demand. The price elasticity represents the effects of price change on consumer purchase, that is, the percent drop in the amount purchased following a price increase of 1%. In our study, we assumed that a realistic value for the price-elasticities would be between -0.8 and -1.5 (for a value of -0.8, the consumer would buy 0.8% less of the product when its price increases by 1%). Under these hypotheses, the loss of consumer surplus would be between €190 and €310 billion in 2005.

These results highlight that the complete loss of insect pollinators, particularly that of honey bees and wild bees which are the main crop pollinators, would not lead to the catastrophic disappearing of world agrioculture, but would nevertheless result in substantial economic losses even though our figures consider only the crops which are directly used for human food. The adaptive strategies of economic actors – such as re-allocation of land among crops and use of substitutes in the food industry – would likely limit somewhat the consequences of pollinator loss.

Yet we did not take into account the impact of pollination shortage onto seeds used for planting, which is very important for many vebetable crops as well as forage crops and thereby the whole cattle industry, non-food crops and, perhaps most importantly, the wild flowers and all the ecosystemic services that the natural flora provides to agriculture and to society as a whole.

Tilo Arnhold | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ufz.de
http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=17177

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>