Wild bee pollinators' importance for macroecology and environmental economy

PhD defence

Céline Claire Pascale Moreaux

Title of thesis

The importance of wild bee pollinators from a macroecological and environmental economics perspective


In this anthropogenic biodiversity crisis, species are lost at alarming rates. Insects such as wild bees are in sharp declines and further losses are expected in the future. Wild bees engage in complex ecosystem dynamics. Yet, their most prominent function is the pollination of wildflowers and crops. This function is threatened in the wake of their declines.Portait of Céline Moreaux

The motivation to halt declines in wild bees and identify responses to the current crisis is the point of departure for this PhD thesis. It aims to increase the understanding of the multitude of ways in which humanity benefits from this ecological group. In addition to measurable values such as crop pollination, wild bees inherent intangible values both for nature and humanity, expressed for instance through cultural and spiritual appreciation. To identify some of these so-called use and non-use values, macroecological and economic valuation techniques are applied in a unique interdisciplinary approach. First, the thesis provides a global assessment of the effects of pollinators on coffee and the role of forest habitat in this process, synergising findings from a number of local studies by use of a systematic literature review and remote sensing (article I). Results confirm the importance of wild bees and other pollinators to crop production systems and indicate that high density forest can support pollinators in these functions. Simultaneously, the study discloses limitations in the use of remote sensing techniques to gain a greater understanding of these processes. Second, the PhD thesis adds to the scarce literature on non-marketed, and particularly non-use values of wild bees and assesses public willingness to engage in wild bee conservation in a stated preference approach in Germany. A choice experiment was used to understand the effect of distance and regional affiliation on respondents’ choices (article II), as well as the valuation of pollination services compared to cultural and non-use values (article III). Both spatial heterogeneity and non-use values are identified as factors affect respondents’ preferences in wild bee conservation. Conclusively, conservation policies would likely benefit from more a holistic perspective of ecosystem functioning and humanity’s interactions with the environment, rather than solely appealing to citizens from a perspective of monetary and personal benefits. Finally, by critically reflecting upon the methods available within environmental economics, this thesis attempts to provide a stepping-stone into exploring their values more holistically in the future.


Professor Niels Strange, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen, nst@ifro.ku.dk 


Professor Jette Bredahl Jacobsen, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen, jbj@ifro.ku.dk

Associate Professor Bo Dalsgaard, Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, GLOBE, University of Copenhagen, bo.dalsgaard@sund.ku.dk

Professor Carsten Rahbek, Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, GLOBE, University of Copenhagen, crahbek@sund.ku.dk

Assessment Committee


Professor Søren Bøye Olsen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen                                                                     

Committee members:

Jeff Ollerton, Self-employed Consultant Scientist and Author

Researcher Jens Abildtrup, INFRA, Nancy, France

Master of Ceremony

Professor Christian Gamborg, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

How to participate

The PhD defence will take place hybrid.

Via Zoom: https://ucph-ku.zoom.us/j/64292280989

Room: Von Langen, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C.

The defence is open to all.



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