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Linking Land Cover Data and Crop Yields for Mapping and Assessment of Pollination Services in Europe
Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, Via E. Fermi 2749, 20127 Ispra, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 July 2013; in revised form: 23 August 2013 / Accepted: 5 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
Abstract: Pollination is a key ecosystem service as many crops but in particular, fruits and vegetables are partially dependent on pollinating insects to produce food for human consumption. Here we assessed how pollination services are delivered at the European scale. We used this assessment to estimate the relative contribution of wild pollinators to crop production. We developed an index of relative pollination potential, which is defined as the relative potential or relative capacity of ecosystems to support crop pollination. The model for relative pollination potential is based on the assumption that different habitats, but in particular forest edges, grasslands rich in flowers and riparian areas, offer suitable sites for wild pollinator insects. Using data of the foraging range of wild bees with short flight distances, we linked relative pollination potential to regional statistics of crop production. At aggregated EU level, the absence of insect pollination would result in a reduction of between 25% and 32% of the total production of crops which are partially dependent on insect pollination, depending on the data source used for the assessment. This production deficit decreases to 2.5% if only the relative pollination potential of a single guild of pollinators is considered. A strength of our approach is the spatially-explicit link between land cover based relative pollination potential and crop yield which enables a general assessment of the benefits that are derived from pollination services in Europe while providing insight where pollination gaps in the landscape occur.
Keywords: ecosystem services; pollination; CORINE land cover; crop production; bees
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MDPI and ACS Style
Zulian, G.; Maes, J.; Paracchini, M.L. Linking Land Cover Data and Crop Yields for Mapping and Assessment of Pollination Services in Europe. Land 2013, 2, 472-492.
Zulian G, Maes J, Paracchini ML. Linking Land Cover Data and Crop Yields for Mapping and Assessment of Pollination Services in Europe. Land. 2013; 2(3):472-492.
Zulian, Grazia; Maes, Joachim; Paracchini, Maria L. 2013. "Linking Land Cover Data and Crop Yields for Mapping and Assessment of Pollination Services in Europe." Land 2, no. 3: 472-492.