, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 61–73 | Cite as

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

  • Kenneth J. BagstadEmail author
  • 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 Article


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.


Migration Northern pintail duck Spatial subsidies Species conservation Telecoupling Transborder conservation 



This work was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey’s John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis working group Animal migration and Spatial Subsidies: Establishing a Framework for Conservation Markets, National Science Foundation awards (DEB-1118975 and DEB-1518359), and USGS’ Land Change Science Program. We thank Jeremy Havens for assistance with the figures, and Autumn-Lynn Harrison for a constructive review of an earlier draft manuscript. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Supplementary material

13280_2018_1049_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (80 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 80 kb)


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Bagstad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Darius J. Semmens
    • 1
  • James E. Diffendorfer
    • 1
  • Brady J. Mattsson
    • 2
    • 11
  • James Dubovsky
    • 3
  • Wayne E. Thogmartin
    • 4
  • Ruscena Wiederholt
    • 5
  • John Loomis
    • 6
  • Joanna A. Bieri
    • 7
  • Christine Sample
    • 8
  • Joshua Goldstein
    • 9
  • Laura López-Hoffman
    • 10
  1. 1.Geosciences & Environmental Change Science CenterU.S. Geological SurveyDenverUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Wildlife Biology & Game ManagementUniversity of Natural Resources & Life ScienceViennaAustria
  3. 3.Division of Migratory Bird ManagementU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceLakewoodUSA
  4. 4.Upper Midwest Science CenterU.S. Geological SurveyLa CrosseUSA
  5. 5.Everglades FoundationPalmetto BayUSA
  6. 6.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsColorado State UniversityFt. CollinsUSA
  7. 7.Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Redlands CollegeUniversity of RedlandsRedlandsUSA
  8. 8.Department of MathematicsEmmanuel CollegeBostonUSA
  9. 9.The Nature ConservancyFt. CollinsUSA
  10. 10.School of Natural Resources and Environment and Udall Center for Studies in Public PolicyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  11. 11.Institute of Silviculture (WALDBAU)ViennaAustria

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