Methodological Issues and Case Studies
Edited by K. N. Ninan
Chapter 7: Valuing pollination services: a comparison of approaches
Pollination is a valuable ecosystem service that provides a variety of direct and indirect benefits to humans including facilitating the production of food and feed crops, plant-derived medicines and ornamental plants, as well as contributing to overall ecosystem resilience (MEA, 2003; Naban and Buchmann, 1997). While this chapter will focus on pollination services provided to commercial agriculture because of the availability of case studies, it should be recognized that the benefits of pollination services are much more widespread and that the large-scale pollination of plant species supporting entire natural ecosystems is critical to human survival. Unfortunately, our understanding of the highly complex ecological production functions in these non-commercial settings is often very limited. Globally, 75 per cent of primary crop species and 35 per cent of crop production rely on some level of animal-mediated pollination, with the highest level of pollinator dependence found predominantly in fruits, vegetables and nuts (Klein et al., 2007). Animal pollinators include many insects (e.g. bees, beetles and butterflies), as well as several species of birds and mammals (Naban and Buchmann, 1997). Evidence exists of local and regional declines of both managed and wild insect pollinators (NRC, 2007; Potts et al., 2010; vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010), which appear to be a result of pests, diseases, habitat destruction, pesticide use and other forms of agricultural intensification (Cunningham, 2000; Kremen et al., 2002; Winfree et al., 2009; Le Feon et al., 2010; vanEngelsdorp and Meixner, 2010).
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