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

Laura López-Hoffman, Jay Diffendorfer, Ruscena Wiederholt, Kenneth J. Bagstad, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Gary McCracken, Rodrigo L. Medellin, Amy Russell, Darius J. Semmens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalEcology and Society
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Pest control
  • Spatial subsidies
  • Telecoupled natural-human systems
  • Telecoupling
  • Transborder conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

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