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Small-sized protected areas contribute more per unit area to tropical crop pollination than large protected areas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number101137
JournalEcosystem Services
Early online date24 Jun 2020
E-pub ahead of print24 Jun 2020
PublishedAug 2020

King's Authors


Land-use change is considered one of the main causes of the observed population decline of pollinators. Pollinators are essential for the reproduction of wild and cultivated plant species. Protected areas contribute to pollinator conservation by providing key nesting and foraging habitats. We estimate how much of the pantropical pollination service is currently within terrestrial protected areas. We used publicly available global datasets to generate variables known to predict pollinator abundance and have built a pantropical spatially explicit model of the pollination service. Our results suggest that 80% of tropical protected areas contribute to crop pollination. Protected areas (PAs) that currently do not contribute to crop pollination may contribute in the future as agriculturalisation continues and they begin to neighbour croplands. The remaining PAs provide habitat for pollinators of wild plants, alongside many other ecosystem services. Small-sized PAs provide higher pollination service per unit area than large ones due to their greater proximity to crops in general and their greater perimeter per unit area. These small PAs also tend to be under greater anthropogenic pressure than large-sized tropical PAs. We suggest the role of pollination services to croplands from PAs be considered alongside other ecosystem services in PA management decisions.

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