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

Kenneth J. Bagstad, Darius J. Semmens, James E. Diffendorfer, Brady J. Mattsson, James Dubovsky, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Ruscena Wiederholt, John Loomis, Joanna A. Bieri, Christine Sample, Joshua Goldstein, Laura López-Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Migration
  • Northern pintail duck
  • Spatial subsidies
  • Species conservation
  • Telecoupling
  • Transborder conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology


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