GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Pollinator dependence of Argentinean agriculture: current status and temporal analysis
CHACOFF, N. P.; MORALES, C. L.; GARIBALDI, L. A.; ASHWORTH, L. ; AIZEN, M. A.
The Americas Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology
Global Science Books
Año: 2010 vol. 3 p. 106 - 116
A sizable proportion of agricultural production depends directly or indirectly on animal pollination but estimation of the size of this dependence is missing for most countries, even for some of the most important food producers. Here, we evaluate the current status and temporal trends (1961-2007) in pollinator dependency of Argentinean agriculture. We classified crops in categories according to their pollinator dependence, and estimated their harvested area, production, economic and nutritional values. We also estimated the expected production deficit in the absence of pollinators, the extra area needed to cope with this deficit, and trends in honeybee stocks. From a total of 68 crops, animal pollination increased directly production in 37 and indirectly in 13. More than half of the harvested area and total agricultural production corresponded to pollinator dependent crops, a trend highly influenced by the inclusion of soybean as a modestly dependent crop. Highly pollinator-dependent crops produced 2-4 times more income per hectare than any other crop, and modestly dependent crops bear on average the highest protein and fat content. During the study period the production deficit increased three-fold, reaching 12% in 2007, whereas the area needed to compensate for these deficiencies attained 24%. Regarding pollination services, indicators are mixed; whereas Argentinean honey-bee stock triplicates from 1961 to 2007, native forest area, a source of pollinator diversity, shrank to more than half since 1940s. Experiments testing the degree of pollinator dependency on the quality and quantity of crop production for soybean varieties cultivated in Argentina are urgently needed. Our estimations depict an agriculture that is becoming more dependent on pollinators, but native forests and other native terrestrial habitats, which host most of the countrys pollinator diversity, are decreasing at an alarming rate.