Pollination Services for Sustainable Cocoa

Agroforests and Ecosystem Services

Cocoa is one of the most important traded commodities globally, and its production is strongly affected by weather fluctuations associated to climate change. Land use expansion of cocoa monocultures and agrochemical intensification have been the main strategy to mitigate climate-related yield deficits. This expansion provides significant economic earnings for stakeholders, but at the cost of pristine forest, and the overall environment stability. 


Stakeholders and decision makers increasingly realize that diverse agroforests provide a ‘green’ development trajectory that can enhance ecosystem services and balance better development and conservation goals in an uncertain environment. Cocoa pollination has recently been shown to increase yields in resilient agroforestry systems and to increase rural livelihoods. If these pollination benefits remain stable over a long time and can be implemented at scale, high yielding and climate smart agroforestry systems with rural livelihood benefits may offer a viable alternative to vulnerable monoculture cocoa production systems. 

Our Work

We aim to address a key research gap of understanding long-term effects of established agroforestry landscapes on yield stability and cocoa pollination benefits in world leading producing countries Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana and Indonesia.

Indonesia_Canopy trees.jpg

Publications and Press 


  • Toledo-Hernández, M., Tscharntke, T., Tjoa, A., Anshary, A., Cyio, B., Wanger, T. C. 2020. Hand pollination, not pesticides or fertilizers, increases cocoa yields and farmer income. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 304, 107160. Full text available here

  • Wanger, T.C., Hölscher, D., Veldkamp, E., Tscharntke, T. 2018. Cocoa production: Monocultures are not the solution to climate adaptation—Response to Abdulai et al. 2017." Global Change Biology 24, 561-562. Request text here

  • Toledo-Hernández, M., Wanger, T.C, Tscharntke, T. 2017. Neglected pollinators: Can enhanced pollination services improve cocoa yields? A review. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 247, 137-148. Full text available here

  • Wanger, T.C., Schroth, G., Klein, A-M., Tscharntke, T., 2014. Pollination curbs climate risk to cocoa. Nature 511, 155. Full text available here

  • Tscharntke, T., Clough, Y., Bhagwat, S-A., Buchori, D., Faust, H., Hertel, D., Hölscher,  D., Juhrbandt, J., Kessler, M., Perfecto, I. 2011. Multifunctional Shade-Tree Management in Tropical Agroforestry Landscapes–a Review.  Journal of Applied Ecology 48,  619–629. Full text available here

Submitted or in preparation

  • Toledo-Hernández, M., Tscharntke, T., Tjoa, A., Anshary, A., Cyio, B., Wanger, T. C. Landscape and farm-level management for pollinator conservation in Indonesian cocoa agroforests. Submitted.

  • Atta-Boateng, A., Toledo-Hernández, M., Wanger T.C., Berlyn,0 G.P., Lander, T. Differences in cacao yield gaps across growing regions: evidence and opportunities. In Prep.

  • Atta-Boateng, A., Toledo-Hernández, M. ,Quiñones, A-L, Yan Yan, Darras, K., Wanger, T.C. Simplifying sustainability concepts: the case of cross-stakeholder implementation challenges in agriculture.

  • Quiñones, A. L.,  Powell, L., Wagner, T.C., Welch, A.J.  Methodological trends in the assessment and improvement of Ecosystem Services in cacao agroforestry: A systematic review. In prep.

  • Toledo-Hernández, M., Atta-Boateng, A., Xie, K., Lander. T, Wanger TC. Bridging the implementation gap of gene-edited crops. In prep.

  • Wanger, T.C., Dennig, F., Toledo-Hernández, M., Tscharnkte, T., Lambin, E. Solving the global cocoa crisis with pollination – a global perspective. In prep.

Public press and media


For further information about our research, press releases and potential collaborations, please contact our work-team.

Manuel Toledo-Hernández

Postdoc - Westlake University

Alma Liss Sánchez Quiñones

PhD student - Durham University

PhD student - Durham University

Acheampong Atta-Boateng

PhD student - University of Oxford


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