A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Contribution of honeybees towards the net environmental benefits of food

Open Access hybrid publication

Publication Details
Authors: Sillman Jani, Uusitalo Ville, Tapanen Tuire, Salonen Anneli, Soukka Risto, Kahiluoto Helena
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication year: 2020
Language: English
Related Journal or Series Information: Science of the Total Environment
Volume number: 756
ISSN: 0048-9697
eISSN: 1879-1026
JUFO-Level of this publication: 2
Open Access: Open Access hybrid publication


Beekeeping provides honey, protein-containing drone broods and pollen, and yield-increasing pollination services. This study tested the hypothesis that beekeeping can result in net-positive impacts, if pollination services and protein-containing by-products are utilised. As a case example, Finnish beekeeping practiceswere used. The studywas performed using two different approaches. In both approaches, the evaluated impacts were related to climate change, land use, and freshwater use, andwere scaled down to represent one beehive. The first approach considered honey production with pollination services and the replacement of alternative products with coproducts. The impacts were normalised to correspond with planetary boundary criteria. The second approach evaluated the impacts of the different products and services of beekeeping separately. In the first approach the honey production system moved towards a safe operational space. Freshwater use was the impact category with the largest shift towards a safe operational space (39% shift). The second approach caused a global warming potential of honey production of 0.65 kgCO2-eq kg−1, when pollen and drone broods were considered as byproducts and the influence of pollination services were not included. When honey, pollen, and drone broods were considered as co-products and pollination services were included, the impacts regarding land use and climate
changewere net-positive. The impact of freshwater use was relatively small. For honey, the impacts on the climate change, land use, and freshwater use were −0.33 kgCO2-eq kg−1, −7.89 m2 kg−1, and 14.01 kg kg−1, respectively. The impact allocation with co-products and pollination services was conclusive. A lack of consideration for the impact reduction of pollination led to beekeeping having a negative impact on the environment. Based on these results, beekeeping enhances food security within planetary boundaries, provided that pollination services and protein-containing by-/co-products are utilised.

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Last updated on 2021-16-03 at 12:47

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