Annually, crop pollinators contribute about AU$14b to the Australian economy (Clarke and Le Feuvre 2020). The pollinators include managed and feral honey bees, native bees and a range of other insects. The produce that depends on pollination includes 35 species of fruit, vegetables, nuts and cotton, as well as oil and pasture seeds. Due to the economic and nutritional value of these products, safeguarding pollination services serves the interest of both the farmers and the consumers of pollination-dependent crops.
The security and resilience of pollination services are increasingly under threat. Increasingly, combinations of agricultural intensification, land clearing, and more frequent and intense droughts and bushfires reduce the resource base for unmanaged and managed pollinators. The security and resilience of crop pollination is further threatened by the expected establishment of the Varroa mite, which will lead to a sharp decline in free pollination by feral honey bees.
This project aimed to secure and enhance crop pollination services by designing ways to support pollinator density and diversity to create a resilient pollinator portfolio.
Resilient systems are able to bounce back from future short-term shock and optimise long-term trends. They are consistent in their performance over time through diversification, risk awareness and flexibility. In the financial world, enhancing the resilience of an investment portfolio requires a profound understanding of the available capital, the risk that capital is exposed to, and the investment landscape. Similarly, a resilient pollinator portfolio requires an understanding of the capital, the threats and the investment options.