Animals without Borders: Conservation, Economics, and Spatial Subsidies of Transboundary Migratory Species (hosted by TWS)

Conservation of wildlife populations that migrate between countries is challenging. Not only is it difficult to predict the consequences of local conservation actions for migratory populations, but it is unknown how such information should be interpreted to inform decision making. Even with the available model-based tools informing optimal allocation of conservation funding, it is unclear how conservation mechanisms should be coordinated at an international level or among jurisdictions with differing priorities throughout the range of a migratory species. We therefore seek a better understanding of the key ecological and economic dimensions of migratory species conservation. The spatial subsidies framework offers a promising way forward. This model-based approach formally links ecological and economic information to quantify gross and net flows of ecosystem services and associated monetary benefits derived from migratory species and their habitats. This symposium presents a series of empirical case studies demonstrating the spatial subsidies framework as applied to birds, bats, and butterflies in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Focal species include the northern pintail, Mexican free-tailed bat, and monarch butterfly. The talks motivate critical needs for future research to further advance this field of integrating information from the ecological and social sciences to inform conservation of transboundary migratory species.

8:00AM Using the Spatial Subsidies Framework for Conservation of Transboundary Ecosystem Services from Migratory Species
  Ta-Ken Huang, Laura López-Hoffman, Aaron Lien, Wayne Thogmartin, Jay Diffendorfer, Darius Semmens, Brady J. Mattsson, Michelle Haefele, John Loomis, Kenneth Bagstad, Jonathan Derbridge
In complex coupled natural-human systems, drivers of change in one location can have profound effects on human well-being in distant locations, often across international borders. Migratory species are an example of telecoupling; as they travel, they provide substantial ecosystem services for people along their migratory pathways. Because of the dynamics of migration there may be mismatches between the areas that most support a migratory species’ population viability – and long term ability to provide ecosystem services – and the locations where the species provide the most services. Quantifying such telecoupled feedbacks can be achieved using the spatial subsidies approach which measures the degree to which ecosystem service provision in one location depends on habitat in another location. We have calculated spatial subsidies for three North American migratory speciesusing models of habitat distribution and dependence, and assessments of economic value of ecosystem services provided by these species. Our goal is to present managers with modeled scenarios of impacts on services and spatial subsidies to identify how they might alter land-use and conservation actions in response, and understand how the spatial subsidies concept might support the objectives of international cooperation to protect migratory species.
8:20AM Quantifying Ecosystem Services and Spatial Subsidies from Migratory Monarch Butterflies across Multiple Scales and Countries in North America
  Jay Diffendorfer, Darius Semmens, Kenneth Bagstad, Ruscena Wiederholt, Karen Oberhauser, Leslie Ries, Brice Semmens, Joshua Goldstein, John Loomis, Wayne Thogmartin, Brady J. Mattsson, Laura López-Hoffman
Making effective decisions regarding the conservation of migratory species requires knowledge of both species ecology and the socioeconomic context of their migrations. Spatial subsidies are the net ecosystem service flows for unique areas within a species’ range and measure the potential spatial imbalance between the locations where people receive benefits from the species relative to locations of habitats that most support the species. We applied the spatial-subsidies framework to the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) migration of eastern North America by structuring their annual life cycle into 5 regions that coincide with key phases of their biology. We used perturbation analyses from a Bayesian demographic matrix model, a willingness to pay survey, and analyses of volunteer time and ecotourism to parameterize our analysis. Results indicate migration and overwintering habitat in Mexico play key roles in subsidizing the cultural ecosystem services provided by monarchs in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, habitat in rural landscapes subsidizes cultural benefits from monarchs to urban residents. By factoring in the socioeconomic context, this approach can help educate stakeholders and justify the transfer of limited conservation funding to areas with the greatest potential return on investments.
8:40AM Ecosystem Service Flows from a Migratory Species: Spatial Subsidies of the Northern Pintail
  Brady J. Mattsson, Kenneth Bagstad, Darius Semmens, Jay Diffendorfer, James Dubovsky, Wayne Thogmartin, Ruscena Wiederholt, John Loomis, Joshua Goldstein, Joanna Bieri, Christine Sample, Laura López-Hoffman
Migratory species provide important benefits to society, but their cross-border conservation poses serious challenges. By quantifying the economic value of ecosystem services (ES) provided across a species’ range and ecological data on a species’ habitat dependence, we estimate spatial subsidies–how particular regions support ES provided by a species across its range. We illustrate this method for the migratory northern pintail (Anas acuta) in North America. Pintails support over $101 million 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 ES and provide information to aid in their transboundary conservation.
9:00AM Land Tenure and Ecosystem Services of Migratory Bats in Mexico and the US: Who Pays Whom
  Ta-Ken Huang, Aaron Lien, Juanita Sundberg, Gary McCracken, Rodrigo Medellin, Laura López-Hoffman
Migratory Mexican free-tailed bats provide $18M in annual ecosystem service values in limitation of damage to cotton crops and eco-tourism in the SW US and Mexico. The majority of the service values so far known are accrued in the US by bats that depend on habitat in Mexico. We map the seasonal distributions of bats onto three categories of land tenure (private, public, communal) and integrate service values with the seasonal presence of bats in US and Mexico. Our results show that bats in Mexico occupy primarily communal land. Furthermore, our results show that communal Mexico is sending benefit to private Texas. This scenario helps us to identify potential costs of land use change in critical roost and habitat and the stakeholders that benefit from them. This framework is helpful for analyzing the potential spatially explicit costs and benefits in the cross boundary, binational context.
9:20AM Equity, Environmental Justice, and Migratory Species Conservation across International Borders
  Laura López-Hoffman, Aaron Lien, Juanita Sundberg, Charles Chester
International conservation efforts have been widely criticized for generating inequitable outcomes by failing to support rural communities and traditional approaches to land tenure and management. Migratory species conservation illustrates this problem. As these migratory animals travel, they often provide substantial benefits and critical ecosystem services to people along their migratory pathways. Because of the dynamics of migration, there may be mismatches between the areas that most support a migratory species’ population viability—and long-term ability to provide ecosystem services—and the locations where species provide the most services. Such distinctions between places prompt questions about who benefits from and who supports species protection. This presentation uses the spatial subsidies approach to identify equity challenges associated with the conservation of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and pintail ducks (Anas acuta). In both of these cases, the spatial subsidies approach elucidates the hidden relationships between places and inequitable distributions of ecosystem services and management obligations across space—from rural to urban, from global south to north, and from indigenous to settler communities. Recognizing these relationships is critical to avoiding inequitable conservation strategies for migratory species.

Organizers: Brady Mattsson, Jonathan Derbridge
Supported by: International Wildlife Management Working Group

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: October 2, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 9:40 am