While agricultural development and pesticides have been shown to produce sharp declines in many wild bee populations, the study shows these "busy bees" can remain abundant in agricultural landscapes. The study gives a powerful economic rationale for conserving wild bees. It calculates the value of wild bee pollination to the global food system at $3,000 per hectare of insect-pollinated agricultural land, a number in the billions globally.But the findings also offer a warning to conservation advocates hoping that economic arguments can justify the preservation of all species. Moral reasons are still needed, researchers say. "This study shows us that wild bees provide enormous economic benefits, but reaffirms that the justification for protecting species cannot always be economic," says Taylor Ricketts of the University of Vermont's Gund Institute For Ecological Economics, a study co-author. "We still have to agree that protecting biodiversity is the right thing to do."