Ecosystem Services from Transborder Migratory Species: Implications for Conservation Governance

Laura López-Hoffman, Charles C. Chester, Darius J. Semmens, Wayne E. Thogmartin, M. Sofia Rodríguez-Mcgoffin, Robert Merideth, Jay E. Diffendorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article discusses the conservation challenges of volant migratory transborder species and conservation governance primarily in North America. Many migratory species provide ecosystem service benefits to society. For example, insectivorous bats prey on crop pests and reduce the need for pesticides; birds and insects pollinate food plants; and birds afford recreational opportunities to hunters and birdwatchers. Migration is driven by the seasonal availability of resources; as resources in one area become seasonally scarce, individuals move to locations where resources have become seasonally abundant. The separation of the annual lifecycle means that species management and governance is often fractured across international borders. Because migratory species depend on habitat in different locations, their ability to provide ecosystem services in one area depends on the spatial subsidies, or support, provided by habitat and ecological processes in other areas. This creates telecouplings, or interconnections across geographic space, of areas such that impacts to the habitat of a migratory species in one location will affect the benefits enjoyed by people in other locations. Information about telecoupling and spatial subsidies can be used to craft new governance arrangements such as Payment for Ecosystem Services programs that target specific stakeholder groups and locations. We illustrate these challenges and opportunities with three North American case studies: the Duck Stamp Program, Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana), and monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-539
Number of pages31
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017


  • Animal migration
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
  • Multinational biodiversity management
  • Nature's benefits to people
  • Spatial subsidies
  • Telecoupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ecosystem Services from Transborder Migratory Species: Implications for Conservation Governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this