(209e) An Input-Output Framework to Assess the Importance of Insect Pollinators to US Industry Sectors: A Case Study of Apple Production
We present an input-output (I-O) modeling based framework for quantifying the economic value of industry sectors attributable to insect-mediated pollination. Of pollination-dependent crops, each has a specific dependence upon insect-mediated pollination service. Using available field data, we first reconcile and update estimates of pollinator dependence coefficients for individual crops while explicitly quantifying uncertainty. Using publicly available data from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service), and reconciled pollinator dependence coefficients, we establish bounds on economic value of agricultural crops attributable to insect pollinators. This information is then used in conjunction with the 2012 Benchmark I-O account data to quantify the economic dependence of non-agricultural sectors on insect-mediated pollination. We focus specifically on the apple farming industry and recreate the apple farming supply chain. We disaggregate the fruit and nut farming sector to represent the apple farming sector with greater detail.
While the direct economic value of apples attributable to insect pollinators is 3 billion dollars, indirect economic dependence of non- agricultural sectors on insect pollinators is equally as significant, though lacking previous quantification. In addition, we further identify the industry sectors that are most vulnerable to loss of insect pollinators. This model allows for specificity in analyses of indirect economic impacts of pollination service mediated by insects by providing a framework for the incorporation of crop-specific dependence coefficients into sector expenditures. The results are compelling and highlight the need for better understanding the role of insect pollinators in life cycles of agricultural and non-agricultural products and processes.