Value and benefit distribution of pollination services provided by bats in the production of cactus fruits in central Mexico

Constance Tremlett, K.S.-H. Peh, Veronica Zamora-Gutierrez, Marije Schaafsma

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Despite providing important ecosystem services in both natural and agricultural systems in the tropics, bats are often disregarded or considered pests; and research quantifying their importance as pollinators is scarce. We quantified the value and benefit distribution of bat pollination in the production of a major fruit crop in Mexico (pitayas, Stenocereus queretaroensis). We used exclusion experiments to quantify the effect of bat pollinators on crop yield and quality. We then used yield analysis to assess the market value of pollination services, combined with value chain analysis to assess the distribution of these economic benefits among actors. Bat pollination services to pitaya production are worth approximately US$2,500 per ha through increases in both fruit yield and size, with bats contributing around 40% of gross income across producers. Participation in the pitaya value chain provides a key seasonal source of cash income at a time of low agricultural activity, supporting livelihoods and household activities of the rural poor. However, the commercialisation of the pitaya has concentrated economic benefits with privileged groups who have access to land and markets. Our novel approach to valuing pollination services is transferable to other crops and pollinator species to demonstrate disaggregated socio-economic consequences of losing pollinators.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101197
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume47
Issue number101197
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • cash crop
  • columnar cactus
  • Economic valuation
  • Ecosystem services
  • Leptonycteris
  • Value chain
  • Stenocereus queretaroensis

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