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

Darius J. Semmens, James E. Diffendorfer, Laura López-Hoffman, Carl D. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2236-2242
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Economics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011


  • Conservation markets
  • Ecosystem services
  • Migration
  • Spatial dynamics
  • Subsidies
  • Valuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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