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Valuing pollination services to agriculture

Listed author(s):
  • Winfree, Rachael
  • Gross, Brian J.
  • Kremen, Claire

Crop pollination by animal pollinators is an important ecosystem service for which there is no generally accepted valuation method. Here, we show that two existing valuation methods, previously thought to be unrelated, are each a special case of a more general equation. We then present a new method, termed attributable net income, for valuing insect pollination of crops. The attributable net income method improves upon previous methods in three ways: (1) it subtracts the cost of inputs to crop production from the value of pollination, thereby not attributing the value of these inputs to pollinators; (2) it values only the pollination that would be utilized by the crop plant for fruit production, thereby not valuing pollen deposited in excess of the plants’ requirements; and (3) it can attribute value separately to different pollinator taxa, for example to native vs. managed pollinators. We demonstrate all three methods using a data set on watermelon pollination by native bees and honey bees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, USA. We discuss the reasons why different methods produce disparate values, and why the attributable net income method most accurately reflects the actual ecosystem service that is being valued, marketable fruit production.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 71 (2011)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 80-88

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:71:y:2011:i:c:p:80-88
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.08.001
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  1. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
  2. Muth, Mary K. & Thurman, Walter N., 1995. "Why Support the Price of Honey?," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 10(2).
  3. Turner, R. Kerry & Paavola, Jouni & Cooper, Philip & Farber, Stephen & Jessamy, Valma & Georgiou, Stavros, 2003. "Valuing nature: lessons learned and future research directions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 493-510, October.
  4. Gallai, Nicola & Salles, Jean-Michel & Settele, Josef & Vaissière, Bernard E., 2009. "Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 810-821, January.
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