I've read about ecosystem services and their possible valuation - statements like "honeybee pollination service in the US is worth 1.6 billion dollars".

Is data available on how this would affect the cost a consumer pays for a given product? For example if the humans must do all pollination of fruits themselves, how would that affect the retail cost of these fruit?

  • $\begingroup$ I've made some pretty big edits because I think I understood what you're getting at. However, if I've changed your meaning, let me know and I'll revert back to the original! $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Jan 4 '14 at 0:39

The cost would increase; either because pollination services are not provided and the supply is decreased; or because the cost to producers goes up as they must pay for artificial pollination. See the extremely detailed analysis in Winfree et al.


I imagine what you're actually asking for is a $ figure "per apple". This depends on the location, crop, market, etc., but just for a ballpark, if I'm reading the supplementary tables in Allsop et al correctly, the replacement value of insect pollination to apples in the Western Cape of South Africa would represent a 6%-25% increase in production cost (and, if the producers pass that along to the consumers, an equal increase in the cost to consumer).

  • $\begingroup$ I'm unsure about the 6%-25% figure; and would love to see other answers. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Jan 4 '14 at 15:18
  • $\begingroup$ Does "replacement value" mean pollination by hand (= no pollination by nature - animals/insects or weather/wing)? $\endgroup$ – Kozuch Jan 9 '14 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ Yes; Allsop et al value several different methods (hence the range 6-25) of human-assisted pollination, considering their costs, the resulting yield, etc. $\endgroup$ – Oreotrephes Jan 9 '14 at 13:49

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