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Economic Evaluation of Pollination Services Comparing Coffee Landscapes in Ecuador and Indonesia

Roland Olschewski, University of Goettingen
Teja Tscharntke, University of Goettingen
Pablo C Benítez, University of Victoria
Stefan Schwarze, University of Goettingen
Alexandra-Maria Klein, University of Goettingen


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Biodiversity conservation through land-use systems on private land is becoming a pressing environmental policy issue. Agroforestry, such as shade-coffee production, contributes to biodiversity conservation. However, falling coffee prices force many coffee growers to convert their sites into economically more attractive land uses. We performed an economic evaluation of coffee pollination by bees in two distinct tropical regions: an area of low human impact with forests neighboring agroforestry in Indonesia and an area of high human impact with little remaining forest in Ecuador. We evaluated bee pollination for different forest-destruction scenarios, where coffee yields depend on forests to provide nesting sites for bees. We used two novel approaches. First, we examined how coffee net revenues depend on the pollination services of adjacent forests by considering berry weight in addition to fruit set, thereby providing a comprehensive evaluation. Second, we determined the net welfare effects of land-use changes, including the fact that former forestland is normally used for alternative crops. In both regions, crop revenues exceeded coffee pollination values, generating incentives to convert forests, even if owners would be compensated for pollination services. The promotion of certified “biodiversity-friendly” coffee is a feasible option to maintain shade-coffee systems. This is of special importance in high-impact areas where only small forest fragments remain. We conclude that a comprehensive economic analysis is necessary to adequately evaluate rainforest preservation for the enhancement of ecosystem services, such as pollination.

Key words

biodiversity conservation; certified shaded coffee; environmental services; pest management
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087