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Accounting for the ecosystem services of migratory species: Quantifying migration support and spatial subsidies

March 21, 2012

Migratory species support ecosystem process and function in multiple areas, establishing ecological linkages between their different habitats. As they travel, migratory species also provide ecosystem services to people in many different locations. Previous research suggests there may be spatial mismatches between locations where humans use services and the ecosystems that produce them. This occurs with migratory species, between the areas that most support the species' population viability – and hence their long-term ability to provide services – and the locations where species provide the most ecosystem services. This paper presents a conceptual framework for estimating how much a particular location supports the provision of ecosystem services in other locations, and for estimating the extent to which local benefits are dependent upon other locations. We also describe a method for estimating the net payment, or subsidy, owed by or to a location that balances benefits received and support provided by locations throughout the migratory range of multiple species. The ability to quantify these spatial subsidies could provide a foundation for the establishment of markets that incentivize cross-jurisdictional cooperative management of migratory species. It could also provide a mechanism for resolving conflicts over the sustainable and equitable allocation of exploited migratory species.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Accounting for the ecosystem services of migratory species: Quantifying migration support and spatial subsidies
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.07.002
Authors Darius J. Semmens, James E. Diffendorfer, Laura López-Hoffman, Carl D. Shapiro
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecological Economics
Series Number
Index ID 70009674
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Rocky Mountain Geographic Science Center