Economic Value of Insect Pollinators Higher than Previously Thought

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State say the economic value of insect pollinators is much higher than previously thought, amounting to $34 billion in the U.S. in 2012. The team determined economic dependence of U.S. crops on insect pollination services at the county level. Their work also revealed that the areas most reliant on insect pollinators economically also had poor pollinator habitat and forage quality. Researchers say this points to an opportunity for farmers to focus on providing better habitat as a means of preventing further decline of bee species. This work also highlighted regions where local land-use practices are supporting both agriculture and healthy pollinator populations, and the researchers point out that those places could serve as models for sustainable agriculture and pollinator conservation practices.