Editor R. Damania
National Valuation of Monarch Butterflies Indicates an Untapped Potential for Incentive-Based Conservation
Version of Record online: 28 OCT 2013
©2013 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Volume 7, Issue 3, pages 253–262, May/June 2014
How to Cite
Diffendorfer, J. E., Loomis, J. B., Ries, L., Oberhauser, K., Lopez-Hoffman, L., Semmens, D., Semmens, B., Butterfield, B., Bagstad, K., Goldstein, J., Wiederholt, R., Mattsson, B. and Thogmartin, W. E. (2014), National Valuation of Monarch Butterflies Indicates an Untapped Potential for Incentive-Based Conservation. Conservation Letters, 7: 253–262. doi: 10.1111/conl.12065
[Corrected after online publication November 6, 2013: Removed USGS draft disclaimer inadvertently left in published article.]
- Issue online: 2 JUN 2014
- Version of Record online: 28 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 SEP 2013
- Manuscript Received: 16 MAY 2013
- John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Conservation planning;
- contingent valuation;
- ecosystem services;
- Danaus plexippus;
- willingness to pay
The annual migration of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) has high cultural value and recent surveys indicate monarch populations are declining. Protecting migratory species is complex because they cross international borders and depend on multiple regions. Understanding how much, and where, humans place value on migratory species can facilitate market-based conservation approaches. We performed a contingent valuation study of monarchs to understand the potential for such approaches to fund monarch conservation. The survey asked U.S. respondents about the money they would spend, or have spent, growing monarch-friendly plants, and the amount they would donate to monarch conservation organizations. Combining planting payments and donations, the survey indicated U.S. households valued monarchs as a total one-time payment of $4.78–$6.64 billion, levels similar to many endangered vertebrate species. The financial contribution of even a small percentage of households through purchases or donations could generate new funding for monarch conservation through market-based approaches.