Provision and benefit of insect-mediated ecosystem services in Nigeria

Supervisors

Felix Bianchi (FSE Wageningen UR)
Wopke van der Werf (CSA Wageningen UR)

Background

Agricultural land and other natural resources in agricultural landscapes are important sources of ecological services (ES) and goods that the rural poor rely on. While these resources are mainly managed for provisioning (e.g., food, feed and fuel), supporting and regulating ES underlying the biophysical capacity of agro-ecosystems (e.g. habitat for beneficial insects) are often under-invested. So far, limited empirical evidence exists of how ecosystems and their services can improve the well-being of the rural poor.

We offer the opportunity to participate in a study focusing on the role of landscape diversity in the provision of insect-mediated ES in Nigeria. Beneficial insects provide important ES and goods such as pest regulation, pollination and honey production. The flow of these services relies on agricultural management at the site and the functioning of the surrounding landscape. Understanding the effect of landscape context on insect-mediated ES provision can contribute to more sustainable land use management with a reduced reliance on chemical insecticides. As such, this study aims to obtain  a better understanding of the contribution of insect-mediated ES to agricultural productivity and income for smallholder farmers in Nigeria. Got interested? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Objectives

To quantify the relationship between socio-economic data at the household and community level (e.g., demographics, agricultural production, income-generating activities, assets, etc.) and farmers’ perception about insect-mediated ES (e.g. awareness and perceived value and importance).

Procedures

You will explore and analyze a comprehensive data set on farmers’ perceptions about insect-mediated ES, information on land cover/use at the landscape scale, and socio-economic data at the household and community level. This information will help to identify effective strategies to promote positive effects of ES to smallholder farmers, improved land use and natural resource management.

Used Skills

  • Various statistical techniques, including multivariate analysis and regression analysis
  • Writing skills.