Pollination worth $216 billion/yr for food production
September 16, 2008
Pollination services provided by insects are worth $216 billion (€153 billion) a year reports a new study published in Ecological Economics. The figure represents about 9.5 percent of the total value of world agricultural food production.
The fruit and vegetable sectors see the largest benefit ($71 / €50 billion each) from pollination services, followed by oilseed crops ($55 / €39 billion. Bees play the most significant role in the pollination of food crops.
The research did not account for the production of crops for livestock consumption, biofuels, or ornamental flowers. It also omitted the value of pollination of wild plants. As such, the researchers say the overall value of pollination services are significantly higher than the $216 / €153 billion estimate.
A honeybee settles onto a wildflower at Fermilab. Image courtesy of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
A study published in the April 2006 issue of BioScience calculated that insects are worth $57 billion to the U.S. economy, of which only $3 billion was from pollination. But at the time, the authors warned their assessment was conservative.
Nicola Gallai, Jean-Michel Salles, Josef Settele, Bernard E. Vaissière: Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline. Ecological Economics (2008), doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.06.014.