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2019-03-14 | Report

Naturally available wild pollination services have economic value for nature dependent smallholder crop farms in Tanzania

Tibesigwa, Byela, Juha Siikamäki, Razack Lokina and Jessica Alvsilver. 2019. “Naturally available wild pollination services have economic value for nature dependent smallholder crop farms in Tanzania” Scientific Reports 9:3434
Download reference Doi:10.1038/s41598-019-39745-7

Despite the importance of naturally available wild pollination ecosystem services in enhancing sub-Saharan African smallholder farms’ productivity, their values to actual farming systems remain unknown. We develop a nationally representative empirical assessment by integrating nationally representative plot level panel data with spatially and temporally matched land cover maps to identify the contribution of wild pollinators to crop revenue. Our estimation results reveal distinct and robust contributions by natural habitats of wild pollinators - forests - to plot-level crop revenue, where habitats in near proximity to plots contribute much more value than those farther away. When contrasting between pollinator-dependent and pollinator-independent crops, we find that the positive effects emerge only for pollinator-dependent crops, while pollinator-independent crops show no benefits. We conclude the empirical assessment by using our estimates to evaluate changes in crop revenue associated with the actual habitat reduction during 2008–2013. We find that this change in the natural habitats of wild pollinators has reduced crop revenue possibly by as much as 29% (mean) and 4% (median). To our knowledge, this is the first empirical assessment to use nationally representative smallholder farms to assess the value of naturally available wild pollination ecosystem services. Our results magnify the documented benefits of forest conservation, as this preserves pollinators’ natural habitats, and by extension its inhabitants, who play an important role in boosting crop yields of nature dependent smallholder farms.