Agroscope, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland

Demand, supply and value of insect pollination for the swiss agricultural production

For some field crops, and especially fruits and berries, harvested yield quantity and quality are dependent on pollination by insects. According to global estimates, honeybees and wild bees contribute equally to this ecosystem service, although there are no systematic studies for Switzerland. Now, for the first time, and with the help of data on the area and distribution of insect-dependent crops and their yields, the direct economic value for Switzerland of pollination services was calculated, and shown to range between CHF 205 and 479 million per year. In Switzerland, pollination-dependent crops are cultivated on approx. 5 % of the utilised agricultural area and 14 % of the arable land. On a nationwide average, the potential spatial coverage of these crops by honeybees is relatively good. Particularly on the western Central Plateau and in the Valais, however, coverage is patchy. Whether this leads to yield losses owing to pollination deficits, and whether and how the targeted support of naturally occurring wild bees or the use of additional honeybees and managed wild bees contributes to a better pollination outcome, will require further investigations.

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