Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Toolbox

The pollination services of forests

© FAO/Smitha Krishnan (Apis dorsata, Asian wild social bee, on coffee flowers, India).

A review of forest and landscape interventions to enhance their cross sectoral benefits launched.

Forests play an important role in maintaining and providing a continuous supply of pollinators for healthy ecosystems and productive food systems (e.g. nearby agriculture). However, a global decline in pollinators has been documented, and the cross-sectoral benefits of pollination services from forests remain undervalued.  It is hence crucial to raise awareness and promote pollinator-friendly forests and landscape management that have been demonstrated to enhance pollination services.


The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) launched this week a reviewjointly produced by FAO and Bioversity International, on forest and landscape interventions to enhance their cross sectoral benefits.   

Here are some key facts and figures

  • An estimated 88 percent of wild flowering plants globally are pollinated by animals. These include wild bees, butterflies, hoverflies, wasps, moths and bats, to name but a few. 
  • Over 70 percent of global food crops are dependent on animal pollination for yield and/or quality improvements. Pollinators also maintain the productivity of many non-wood forest products.
  • Wild pollinators are imperative for the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of associated ecosystem services, increasing the genetic diversity of plant and thus the ability of species to adapt to environmental changes and pathogens.
  • Declines in pollinator populations and pollen limitation are expected to affect seed production. This is a major threat to the environment and crop production. Reasons for the decline include habitat fragmentation (land-use change and climate change) and intensive agricultural management (low diversity or alien species, pesticide).
  • Forests and trees are important repositories of biodiversity and many wild pollinators depend heavily on them as primary nesting habitats and forage sites. Animal-pollinated crops achieve higher fruit set with higher extent of forests (spill-over effect).
  • Landscape and forest management practices can help ensure the continued availability of pollinators and thereby increase resilience and the productivity of forestry and agriculture.

This publication highlights the importance, at the forest and landscape scales, to monitor pollinator diversity and abundance over time, to employ adaptive management practices and promote a mosaic of diverse habitats, with key components on which pollinators depend, and have a multi-sectoral approach, with the involvement of farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, local communities, forest managers, beekeepers and other land custodians and stakeholders. 

Download the publication below: 

The pollination services of forests: a review of forest and landscape interventions to enhance their cross sectoral benefits