(705f) Vulnerability of United States Industrial Sectors Dependent on Insect-Mediated Pollination Service

Authors: 
Jordan, A., University of Pittsburgh
Khanna, V., University of Pittsburgh
Douglas, M., Dickinson College
Grozinger, C., Pennsylvania State University
Patch, H., Pennsylvania State University
Of the many critically important ecosystem goods and services that sustain human and industrial activity, one crucial service with high economic value is pollination by insects. The agricultural sector of the U.S. economy as well as many other industrial sectors (fiber, drugs, and fuel) are directly and indirectly dependent on insect-mediated pollination by both commercially-managed and wild species of bees and other insects. In forty-five years, production of pollination-dependent crops has increased more rapidly (50-62%) than the global population of managed bees (45%). Simultaneously, wild insects in all regions have declined up to and exceeding 75 percent over only the last twenty-seven years, both in biomass and with decreasing biodiversity. This disparity creates a concern to humans nutritionally and economically as many stress factors continue to influence the fitness of pollinators around the world. Most existing methods focused on environmental sustainability assessments across engineering including traditional life cycle assessment (LCA) ignore the critical role of ecosystem goods and services in product life cycles.

The present work utilizes field study data available in an extensive literature review to quantify the economic dependence of the United States agricultural and related sectors on pollination service mediated by insects, updating existing pollination dependence coefficients when possible and bounding uncertainty of the estimates with Monte Carlo or bootstrapping methods. Integration of InVEST model data and public price and production information available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistic Survey (NASS) and Census of Agriculture compiled at a national, state, and county level considers the spatial relationship between crop-specific economic dependence of pollination and landscape-specific pollinator forage suitability. Specifically, our results highlight regions of the U.S. most susceptible to pollinator loss or decline, having the highest demand for insect pollination services while simultaneously lacking appropriate pollinator habitat. Downstream, cascading dependencies of non-agricultural industrial sectors are assessed using input-output analysis framework. The implications of these findings include expanding understanding of pollination services and pollinator health and identifying dependence and vulnerabilities of agricultural and at risk industrial sectors. These findings also direct conservation and revitalization efforts, advise future policy development, and support the incorporation of valuable ecosystem services as a component of LCA through the creation of an impact category for insect-mediated pollination service.