The Value of Satellite Earth Observations in Designing Cost-Effective Terrestrial Habitat Corridors for Migratory Species The Value of Satellite Earth Observations in Designing Cost-Effective Terrestrial Habitat Corridors for Migratory Species The design of habitat corridors for large migratory species has been identified as a critical and under-studied aspect of terrestrial conservation planning needed to ensure the persistence of these species in the face of threats from habitat destruction and fragmentation (20; 7). Furthermore, climate change and shifting habitats is putting additional pressure on migratory species and increasing the urgency to identify policy solutions (7; 10). Within the last two years, corridor planning to provide habitat for species including elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope has received increasing national attention by policymakers in the United States (US) and become the subject of two secretarial orders (2; 3), bipartisan congressional legislative efforts (e.g. (1)), and received millions of dollars in support (e.g. (17)). The federal-scale emphasis and funding is intended to complement and provide support for coordination among various state and regional organizations also working to improve migratory habitat (e.g. (11; 6; 12)). The substantive and required connectivity of migratory habitat makes conservation planning expensive and methodologically challenging (7). Specifically, the expansive geographies that comprise migratory species habitat result in the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders, including government agencies at the local, state and federal scale, private landowners with working lands, and conservation and landowner nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Private landholders have emerged as critical stakeholders, as private land has been identified as an essential component of successful migratory corridors. However, there is no consensus over how to design incentives to engage private land holders; instead more work to explore how to do this in a cost effective manner has been called for (13; 16). We propose studying a well-known, empirically rich, and policy-relevant context: migratory elk in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Elk are one of several big game migratory species with a higherelevation summer range that generally has higher precipitation and more food but is inhospitable in winter, and a lower-elevation winter range with less food but more tolerable winter weather. Animals must migrate between the seasonal locations, with past work showing the migration route is important habitat for species survival, especially in the spring when the animals follow the greening landscape moving at a rate to enable prime vegetation consumption as it greens (e.g. (8; 14; 4)). Specifically, researchers have identified a link between how closely an animal follows the greening and fitness (15). In the remainder of the proposal we describe how satellite data can be used to design a cost-effective landowner compensation program to ensure habitat connectivity and how we will estimate the gains from using satellite data relative to other data.
|Effective start/end date||7/1/20 → 12/11/21|
- Resources for the Future: $35,000.00
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