Mapping crop pollination in Europe

Pollination by insects is important to food production, and mapping this ecosystem service can aid land managers in the future. 

Data resources used via GBIF : 120,429 species occurrences
Western honey bee (Apis mellifera)

Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) by Vijay Barve via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Crop pollination is an extremely important ecosystem service, and as much as 10 per cent of European food production depend on insect pollination. Nesting sites are threatened by land-use changes, and land managers need reliable models of pollination service delivery. Using GBIF-mediated occurrences, researchers developed distribution models for 12 bee species, and by combining distributions with crop data, they created a pollination delivery map and calculate indices for potential pollination provision and need at both species and country level. In terms of richness, the highest diversity is found in south and central Europe. Two species in particular (Anthophora plumipes and Apis mellifera) provide the highest level of pollination service. Values for delivery and efficiency on a country level do not correlate, as Denmark, for instance, shows one of the highest values of pollination delivery, but a low value in terms of efficiency.


Nogué S, Long PR, Eycott AE, de Nascimento L, Fernández-Palacios JM, Petrokofsky G, Vandvik V and Willis KJ (2016) Pollination service delivery for European crops: Challenges and opportunities. Ecological Economics. Elsevier BV 128: 1–7. Available at doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.03.023.