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Putting a price on nature is difficult - new study in Nature Communications

Can the loss of biodiversity slow down if one exposes its economic value? In a study recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the scientists show that among the many thousands of species of bees in the world, only a few species are of economic importance for agriculture. The most common pollinators of crops can be promoted by relatively simple measures in agricultural landscapes; however these actions are not sufficient to preserve rare species. BECC researchers Henrik Smith and Maj Rundlöf are co-authors to new article in Nature Communications.
Photo: Maj Rundlöf
Photo: Maj Rundlöf

"Biodiversity is essential for many functions in the ecosystem, but this study shows that only a few species are economically important for agriculture. Therefore, the concept of ecosystem services is not enough in the work to preserve biodiversity. We must also focus on the conservation of rare species, among several reasons the ethical aspect is important", says Professor Henrik Smith at the Centre for Environmental and Climate, Lund University. .

The article, presented in Nature Communications, combined data from more than ninety studies of wild bees from five different continents. From Sweden, researchers from SLU and Lund University participated in the work.

Maj Rundlöf, researcher at Lund University, describes the study as an important piece of the puzzle to make goal conflicts visible. These conflicts sometimes exists between the conservation of biological diversity and the concept of ecosystem services.

"Although most species of wild bees do not give us direct economic returns seen today, they can be important in a changed future agricultural landscape. Today it’s difficult to understand that the rare great yellow bumble bee was once an important pollinator of agricultural crops. We don’t know which species that will be the most important in the future", says Maj Rundlöf.

Link to article in Nature Communications

Delivery of crop pollination services is an insufficient argument for wild pollinator conservation

Contact

Henrik Smith, Professor, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research and Department of Biology, Lund University henrik.smith [at] biol.lu.se, +46-(0)70-9782056

Maj Rundlöf, researcher, Department of Biology, Lund University, maj.rundlof [at] biol.lu.se, +46-(0)70-9298524

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