“In early 2014, I was nominated by IAI to participate in the first author meeting of the Thematic Assessment on Pollination and Pollinators Associated with Food Production, organized by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The meeting took place in Siegburg, Germany, in June 2014.
Until that moment, I had limited information about the IPBES and the issue of food production as related to pollination. During the meeting, I had the opportunity to get in touch with the world’s leading scientists on pollination and ecosystem services (including several Brazilians), which was a impacting experience. Also, it was the first time I attended a meeting organized by the United Nations and I was impressed by the process to have a balance of participants by gender, geographic regions, activity sectors and country development stage, as well as respect for different cultures and political systems.
I was assigned as lead author of Chapter 4 of the assessment, which addresses the economic evaluation of pollinator gains and losses, and it was a life changing experience in my career. Most of the coordinating authors and other leading authors were experts in ecological economics, especially in the valuation of ecosystem services. I collaborated with ecological issues related to pollination and I was responsible for the chapter’s section on the influence of temporal and spatial scales on valuation of pollination services.
Back in Brazil, I am now familiar with the vast literature on this subject, and spent the past few months writing and reviewing the section of the assessment with a French colleague, and also acting as a reviewer of other chapters of the assessment. In August 2015, influenced by my participation in the IPBES assessment, I will start a pilot project on the valuation of the pollination services provided by bats to the fruit production of Caryocar brasiliense (the “Pequi”), a wild species from the Brazilian Cerrado which has great regional economic importance. I believe that such an approach can help improve management techniques and aggregate value to extractivism practices of wild fruits in Brazil.
In the near future, the idea is expand this approach to include other wild and crop species of economic importance in the tropical dry forests of the north of Minas Gerais, aiming to quantify the pollination service provided by this ecosystem to the regional economy”, Mario Marcos Espirito Santo, Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros, Brazil is a co-PI in project CRN3025 “Tropi-Dry” and one of the selected IAI nominees to participate in this IPBES assessment