The Economic Value of Ecological Services Provided by Insects
JOHN E. LOSEY AND MACE VAUGHAN
In this article we focus on the vital ecological services provided by insects. We restrict our focus to services provided by “wild” insects; we do not include services from domesticated or mass-reared insect species. The four insect services for which we provide value estimates—dung burial, pest control, pollination, and wildlife nutrition—were chosen not because of their importance but because of the availability of data and an algorithm for their estimation. We base our estimations of the value of each service on projections of losses that would accrue if insects were not functioning at their current level.We estimate the annual value of these ecological services provided in the United States to be at least $57 billion, an amount that justifies greater investment in the conservation of these services.
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