What Is An Umbrella Species?

The Amur Tiger, found in the Russian Far East, is an example of an umbrella species.

What Is An Umbrella Species?

Conservation is an important concept in the protection of wild plants and wildlife, whether it be within their natural or adopted habitat. The goal of conservation is to ensure that nature exists long enough for the future generation to enjoy. The negative effects of humans on wild animals and plants have necessitated the need for strict protection and regulation. The endangered species who are in danger of becoming extinct are also conserved in order to preserve lifespan. Species can be conserved directly or can benefit from the conservation of other species around it. The conservation of some species may require that other species around it also be conserved, resulting in something called an umbrella effect.

Umbrella Species

Umbrella species are species that are selected for conservation-related decisions because the conservation and protection of these species indirectly affects the conservation and protection of other species within their ecosystem. Umbrella species help in the selection of potential reserve locations, as well as the determination of the composition of the reserve. Umbrella species usually have a large area requirement for which the conservation of the species extends the protection to other species sharing the same habitat. Umbrella species are representative of other species in their habitat since they are known species, and they also determine the area of conservation. The protection extended to the other species by the presence of the umbrella species is known as the umbrella effect.

The Umbrella Effects

The umbrella effect, which is the conservation extended to the other species within the umbrella species habitat, is an easier way of managing the ecological community. The concept of umbrella species has been utilized in the creation of wildlife corridor with focal species chosen for their suitability in the conservation process. The umbrella effect is the degree of species impact on other surrounding species resulting from the conservation measures undertaken in the area. Umbrella species is a faster and less expensive means of conservation since it reduces the cost of investment in sampling that is necessary for prioritizing an area for conservation.

Examples of Umbrella Species

Umbrella species can be both plants and animals species with either of the species offering protection to the other. Most of the umbrella species are listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List, and therefore their conservation extends to the conservation of their habitat. Some of the notable umbrella species include spotted owl whose conservation protects the old growth trees the conservation of both species has led to the protection of mollusks and salamanders within the protective boundary. The protection of the Bay checkerspot butterfly automatically leads to the protection of the grassland while the conservation of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East also means an automatic conservation and protection of the deer and boar in their habitat. The protection of canebrake offers further protection to broader species within its habitat because of the umbrella effect. Protection of the rattlesnakes also offer protection to other wildlife species found within their habitats but which require fewer conservation measures.


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