Putting a price on nature's contribution to people

Study assesses monetary and non-monetary value of bee pollination by two protected areas in Brazil

Apis mellifera
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) observed in Dores do Indaiá, Minas Gerais, Brazil by Heitor F. Beloch. Photo via iNaturalist (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Directly contributing to human well-being, pollination is one of the most studied ecosystem services, the effect of which can be measured in order to incentivize preservation.

Focused on two protected areas in Brazil—Serra da Bocaina in the Amazon Forest and Mata do Jambreiro in the Atlantic Forest—this study calculates both monetary and non-monetary values of pollination services provided by bees in the surroundings.

Using data on land cover and use, the authors estimated the size of agricultural areas and their dependence on animal pollination. Derived from GBIF-mediated occurrences, they compiled a list of bee species and estimated their maximum foraging distance.

In Serra da Bocaina, they identified 17 agricultural crops with varying levels of pollination dependence, the annual value of which is estimated to $564,500. For Mata do Jambreiro, 16 crops are cultivated, of which half depend on pollination—estimated at a value of $246,000 per year.

The non-monetary valuation identified important areas with higher potential for nesting and food resources in Canaã dos Carajás and Parauapebas for Bocaina—and, especially, Nova Lima for Jambreiro.

Original article

Hipólito J, Sousa B dos SB, Borges RC, Brito RM de, Jaffé R, Dias S, Imperatriz Fonseca VL and Giannini TC (2019) Valuing nature’s contribution to people: The pollination services provided by two protected areas in Brazil. Global Ecology and Conservation. Elsevier BV 20: e00782. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00782