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Rewarding Farmers Who Provide Bee Habitat Could Increase Shared Benefit

Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Vermont worked together on a project in California’s Central Valley that revealed the value of pollination benefits that neighboring farmers share when some farmers provide bee habitat. “Bees don’t pay attention to land boundaries,” said the study’s lead author Eric Lonsdorf. “In the current system, farmers who choose to conserve habitat for bees on their lands are rarely recognized for the pollination benefits that they’re also providing to their neighbors.” This study proposes that farmers providing bee habitat be compensated for the pollination benefits they’re providing for others. The researchers also note that the more farmers group together to provide habitat, the greater the resulting benefits. Ideally, the researchers say they would like to see their work help inform policies that encourage cooperation and resource sharing amongst farmers.