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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 213-219

Benefits of Biotic Pollination for Non-Timber Forest Products and Cultivated Plants


1 Keystone Foundation, the Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Bees for Development, Monmouth, United Kingdom
3 Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, Kalapet, Pondicherry, United Kingdom
4 Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Simon G Potts
Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.64732

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Biodiversity supplies multiple goods and services to society and is critical for the support of livelihoods across the globe. Many indigenous people depend upon non-timber forest products (NTFP) and crops for a range of goods including food, medicine, fibre and construction materials. However, the dependency of these products on biotic pollination services is poorly understood. We used the biologically and culturally diverse Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in India to characterise the types of NTFP and crop products of 213 plant species and asses their degree of dependency on animal pollination. We found that 80 per cent of all species benefited from animal pollination in their reproduction, and that 62 per cent of crop products and 40 per cent of NTFP benefited from biotic pollination in their production. Further we identified the likely pollinating taxa documented as responsible for the production of these products, mainly bees and other insects. A lower proportion of indigenous plant products (39 per cent) benefited from biotic pollination than products from introduced plants (61 per cent). We conclude that pollinators play an important role in the livelihoods of people in this region.


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