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Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline
 



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Nicola Gallaia, b, Corresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author, Jean-Michel Sallesc, Josef Setteled and Bernard E. Vaissièrea

aINRA, Laboratoire Pollinisation & Ecologie des Abeilles, UMR406 Abeilles & Environnement, 84914 Avignon Cedex 9, France

bINRA, UMR LAMETA, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France

cCNRS, UMR LAMETA, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France

dUFZ, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Department of Community Ecology, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle, Germany

Received 8 November 2007;
revised 6 May 2008;
accepted 24 June 2008.
Available online 3 August 2008.

 

Abstract

There is mounting evidence of pollinator decline all over the world and consequences in many agricultural areas could be significant. We assessed these consequences by measuring 1) the contribution of insect pollination to the world agricultural output economic value, and 2) the vulnerability of world agriculture in the face of pollinator decline. We used a bioeconomic approach, which integrated the production dependence ratio on pollinators, for the 100 crops used directly for human food worldwide as listed by FAO. The total economic value of pollination worldwide amounted to €153 billion, which represented 9.5% of the value of the world agricultural production used for human food in 2005. In terms of welfare, the consumer surplus loss was estimated between €190 and €310 billion based upon average price elasticities of − 1.5 to − 0.8, respectively. Vegetables and fruits were the leading crop categories in value of insect pollination with about €50 billion each, followed by edible oil crops, stimulants, nuts and spices. The production value of a ton of the crop categories that do not depend on insect pollination averaged €151 while that of those that are pollinator-dependent averaged €761. The vulnerability ratio was calculated for each crop category at the regional and world scales as the ratio between the economic value of pollination and the current total crop value. This ratio varied considerably among crop categories and there was a positive correlation between the rate of vulnerability to pollinators decline of a crop category and its value per production unit. Looking at the capacity to nourish the world population after pollinator loss, the production of 3 crop categories – namely fruits, vegetables, and stimulants - will clearly be below the current consumption level at the world scale and even more so for certain regions like Europe. Yet, although our valuation clearly demonstrates the economic importance of insect pollinators, it cannot be considered as a scenario since it does not take into account the strategic responses of the markets.

Keywords: Pollination; Valuation; Vulnerability; Agriculture; Ecosystem service; Crop



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Fig. 1. Estimates of the consumer surplus loss for different values of price elasticity.


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Table 1.

Heterogeneity of the dependence ratios reported for the production of some selected crops in regards to insect pollination (extrema are underlined)

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Table 2.

Economic impact of insect pollination of the world agricultural production used directly for human food and listed by the main categories ranked by their rate of vulnerability to pollinator loss; the economic value of insect pollination was calculated following (1)

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Table 3.

Geographical distribution of crop production value, economic impact of pollinators and vulnerability ratio among the 16 sub-regions of the world defined following FAO (http://faostat.fao.org); the economic value of insect pollination was calculated following (1); sub-regions with high vulnerability ratios (≥ 10%) are in bold

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Table 4.

Economic vulnerability ratio (in bold) and 2005 production figures in 106 metric tons (in italics) for the pollinator-dependent crop categories among the 16 sub-regions of the world defined following FAO (http://faostat.fao.org). Image highest value of the economic vulnerability ratio for the sub-region

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Table 5.

Effect of pollinator loss on the capacity to provide food at the world scale for the pollinator-dependent crop categories

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The differences between 2005 production and consumption figures are expressed in relative terms as % of the 2005 consumption figures following FAO (http://faostat.fao.org).


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Table 6.

Regional effect of pollinator loss on the capacity to meet consumption before and after (in bold) total pollinator loss for the three crop categories for which the 2005 overall balance was negative following pollinator loss

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The differences between 2005 production and consumption figures are expressed in relative terms as % of the 2005 consumption figures following FAO (http://faostat.fao.org).


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Table 7.

Consumer surplus loss at the world scale for 2005 in relation with price elasticity

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Corresponding author. INRA, UMR LAMETA, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France. Tel.: +33 4 99 61 29 67; fax: +33 4 67 54 58 05.
 
 
 
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