Sunday, April 3, 2011

Economic Importance of Bats in Agriculture

Ecosystem service: pest control
Valuation method: benefit transfer + avoided cost

"...estimating the economic importance of bats in agricultural systems is challenging, but published estimates of the value of pest suppression services provided by bats ranges from about $12 to $173/acre (with a most likely scenario of $74/acre) in a cotton-dominated agricultural landscape in south-central Texas (12). Here, we extrapolate these estimates to the entire United States as a first assessment of how much the disappearance of bats could cost the agricultural industry [see supporting online material (SOM)]. Assuming values obtained from the cotton-dominated agroecosystem in Texas, and the number of acres of harvested cropland across the continental United States in 2007 (13), we estimate the value of bats to the agricultural industry is roughly $22.9 billion/year. If we assume values at the extremes of the probable range (12), the value of bats may be as low as $3.7 billion/year and as high as $53 billion/year. These estimates include the reduced costs of pesticide applications that are not needed to suppress the insects consumed by bats (12) (Science)."

No comments: