Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Taylor H. Ricketts


Land conversion for intensive agriculture is one of the major drivers of biodiversity decline, leading to loss of intrinsic value and ecosystem services. Yet, the specific mechanisms of how ecosystem services respond to biodiversity loss–and who is most affected–remains unclear. To contribute to this research gap, I combine field experiments with modeling approaches to evaluate the critical role of ecosystem services in agriculture, particularly under the pressures of global change. In chapter one, I examine the links among biodiversity, ecosystem function, and ecosystem services. Using a global pollinator database, I assess how different aspects of bee biodiversity predict crop pollination services. Results reveal that taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity influence crop yield, but these relationships are non-linear and complex. In chapter two, I focus on bee pollination services to coffee production beyond yield metrics. By experimentally excluding bees from coffee plants on a farm in Costa Rica, I estimate the effect of bee pollination on the sensory attributes of the resulting roasted coffee. By collaborating with a coffee cooperative and certified coffee tasters, I find that bee-pollinated plants produce 9% more fruit and result in coffee with 2% higher aroma scores. However, these fruits weigh 7% less and have less balance in their flavor profiles, indicating trade-offs within yield and quality. In the third chapter, I address the impacts of climate change on the future of coffee production. With the predicted shift in coffee-growing areas in Costa Rica by 2050, I explore potential conflicts and opportunities emerging from the changing demand for land. I create 121 land-use policy scenarios and model the outcomes for coffee production and carbon storage. Results show clear trade-offs between coffee expansion and forest conservation in all scenarios, demonstrating the intricate ecological, social, and economic considerations for decision-makers attempting to align agricultural and biodiversity goals in the face of climate change. Overall, this dissertation advances our understanding of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, aiming to inform sustainable farming practices, conservation initiatives, and land-use policies that protect both nature and farming livelihoods.



Number of Pages

127 p.

Available for download on Thursday, November 28, 2024