Operationalizing the telecoupling framework for migratory species using the spatial subsidies approach to examine ecosystem services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats

Ecology and Society
By: , and 

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Abstract

Drivers of environmental change in one location can have profound effects on ecosystem services and human well-being in distant locations, often across international borders. The telecoupling provides a conceptual framework for describing these interactions—for example, locations can be defined as sending areas (sources of flows of ecosystem services, energy, or information) or receiving areas (recipients of flows). However, the ability to quantify feedbacks between ecosystem change in one area and societal benefits in other areas requires analytical approaches. We use spatial subsidies—an approach developed to measure the degree to which a migratory species’ ability to provide services in one location depends on habitat in another location—as an example of how telecoupling can be operationalized. Using the cotton pest control and ecotourism services of Mexican free-tailed bats as an example, we determined that of the 16 states in the United States and Mexico where the species resides, three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado) are receiving areas, while the rest of the states are sending areas. In addition, the magnitude of spatial subsidy can be used as an indicator of the degree to which different locations are telecoupled to other locations. In this example, the Mexican free-tailed bat ecosystem services to cotton production and ecotourism in Texas and New Mexico are heavily dependent on winter habitat in four states in central and southern Mexico. In sum, spatial subsidies can be used to operationalize the telecoupling conceptual framework by identifying sending and receiving areas, and by indicating the degree to which locations are telecoupled to other locations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Operationalizing the telecoupling framework for migratory species using the spatial subsidies approach to examine ecosystem services provided by Mexican free-tailed bats
Series title Ecology and Society
DOI 10.5751/ES-09589-220423
Volume 22
Issue 4
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher The Resilience Alliance
Contributing office(s) Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
Description 23; 8 p.
Country Mexico, United States