Pollination potential in Portugal: Leveraging an ecosystem service for sustainable agricultural productivity

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As urbanization and agriculture increase worldwide, habitats and food sources for wild pollinators are often fragmented or destroyed. As wild pollinators contribute both resilience and variety to agricultural fields, it is desirable to implement land management practices that preserve their well-being and ability to contribute to food production systems. This study evaluates continental Portugal for its change in suitability to host bee’s pollinator species (Apis mellifera) from 1990 to 2018. It uses the InVEST crop pollination modeling tool and CORINE Land Cover, as well as parameterization to produce pollinator abundance and supply maps. These are generalized to municipality boundaries to provide actionable insights to farmers and policymakers and strengthen land management practices. It finds that the potential for pollination services is growing, with averages of both pollinator abundance and supply indices improving by 8.76% across the continental territory in 28 years. The study results are validated using another pollination index derived from a study that is based on expert opinion and field sampling in a sub-region of Portugal. This method of aggregation of model results and comparison of the percent difference by administrative boundary has the potential to better inform both policymakers and farmers about the pollination potential on a local level, as well as inspire interventions for future productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number431
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2021


  • InVEST model
  • Land management practices
  • Land use changes
  • Validation
  • Wild bees


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