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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Assessing the Economic Contribution of Native Bees to Crop Production

Summary: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Assessing the Economic Contribution of Native Bees
to Crop Production
Ecosystem services are the processes by which the environment produces resources that we
humans often take for granted. Examples include: provision of clean air and water, maintenance
of soil fertility, maintenance of stable climates, pollination of crops and natural vegetation,
control of potential pests, provision of genetic resources, production of food and fiber, and
provision of cultural, spiritual and intellectual experiences. Biodiversity in general, and insect
biodiversity in particular, underpins the services that ecosystems provide and has significant, but
sometimes under-appreciated, value.
Pollination is an ecosystem service that my lab studies in some detail. We have a long-term
project on the role of native bees as crop pollinators in apple orchards in central NY. Our first
two years of data reveal an enormous diversity of bee species (>80 species to date) in orchards
ranging from 2 acres to up to 100 acres, and our investigations of pollinator effectiveness
indicate that native species may be more important pollinators than (non-native) honey bees in
many orchards. We are interested in developing collaborations with others on campus to develop
a comprehensive program to evaluate the economic contribution of native bees to pollination in
agricultural systems. We can also expand the discussion to include natural enemies and a broader
array of ecosystems services. I interested in developing an ACSF-AVF proposal focused on
quantifying the value of native pollinators and would welcome input on this idea.


Source: Angenent, Lars T. - Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University


Collections: Renewable Energy; Engineering