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Ecosystem service flows from a migratory species: Spatial subsidies of the northern pintail

January 28, 2019

Migratory species provide important benefits to society, but their cross-border conservation poses serious challenges. By quantifying the economic value of ecosystem services (ESs) provided across a species’ range and ecological data on a species’ habitat dependence, we estimate spatial subsidies—how different regions support ESs provided by a species across its range. We illustrate this method for migratory northern pintail ducks in North America. Pintails support over \$101 million USD annually in recreational hunting and viewing and subsistence hunting in the U.S. and Canada. Pintail breeding regions provide nearly \$30 million in subsidies to wintering regions, with the “Prairie Pothole” region supplying over \$24 million in annual benefits to other regions. This information can be used to inform conservation funding allocation among migratory regions and nations on which the pintail depends. We thus illustrate a transferrable method to quantify migratory species-derived ESs and provide information to aid in their transboundary conservation.