Agriculture and Pollinating Insects, No Longer a Choice but a Need: EU Agriculture’s Dependence on Pollinators in the 2007–2019 Period

Bugin, G., Lenzi, L., Ranzani, G., Barisan, L., Porrini, C., Zanella, A., & Bolzonella, C. (2022). “Agriculture and Pollinating Insects, No Longer a Choice but a Need: EU Agriculture’s Dependence on Pollinators in the 2007–2019 Period.” Sustainability 14(6), 3644. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063644

Abstract: One of the new objectives laid out by the European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy is increasing environmental sustainability. In this paper we compare the degree of average dependence index for each member state (ADIMS) in EU28 from 2007 to 2019 in order to verify the following: (1) whether there was a difference in this index when comparing two CAP periods—(a) from 2007 to 2013 and (b) from 2014 to 2019—and (2) which crops had a larger effect on the ADIMS. The study showed no significant variation in the average ADIMS at EU level between the first (2007–2013) and second (2014–2019) CAP periods. The AIDMS index highlighted three types of EU agriculture: (1) agriculture in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, characterized by a high level of ADIMS (10.7–22) due to the widespread cultivation of oil crops as rapeseed and sunflower; (2) Mediterranean agriculture including Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Malta, Cyprus and France with lower AIDMS levels (5.3–10.3) given their heterogeneous crop portfolios with different degrees of dependence on animal pollination (almond, soy, rapeseed, sunflower and tomatoes) and (3) continental agriculture including Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Baltic countries, Benelux, Finland, Sweden and Ireland, which are characterized by the lowest ADIMS level (0.7–10.6) due to the widespread cultivation of cereals (anemophily and self-pollination) which increase the denominator of the index. The study suggests that a sustainable management of the agroecosystem will be possible in the future only if CAP considers pollinators’ requirements by quantifying the timing and spatial food availability from cultivated and uncultivated areas.

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