1932

Abstract

Many food crops rely on pollination by animals. Historically, wind and wild organisms provided pollination as an ecosystem service that varied across agroecological zones, cropping systems, and time. The value of these pollination services is likely substantial but has not been estimated reliably. More recently, pollination services in major crop-producing regions have been provided through organized markets, primarily the rental of honey bees. The sustainability of commercially provided pollination services is being challenged by parasites, diseases, pesticide exposures, poor nutrition, and Colony Collapse Disorder. Economic analyses indicate that honey bee rental markets have been able to adjust to those challenges, at least to date. Understanding the future sustainability of rental markets requires greater knowledge of the contributions of wild pollinators, optimal management of pollination services from wild and managed organisms, and the value of pollination services provided by wild and managed organisms.

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