The key difference between flagship and umbrella species is that flagship species is a species that acts as a symbol or icon for a defined habitat while umbrella species is the species indirectly involved in the conservation of many other species at the ecosystem or landscape level.
In an ecosystem, there are different types of living organisms. These species interact themselves through different types of processes such as predation, parasitism, mutualism, symbiosis, and competition. The conservation of species can be subjective, and the determination of the status of species is not easy. Therefore, for the ease of conservation, some species such as umbrella species, keystone species and flagship species can be used. The changes in these species indicate the status of other species in the ecosystem. Hence, it makes conservation decisions easier.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Flagship Species
3. What is Umbrella Species
4. Similarities Between Flagship and Umbrella Species
5. Side by Side Comparison – Flagship vs Umbrella Species in Tabular Form
What is a Flagship Species?
Flagship species is a species considered as an ambassador or icon species for a conservation project. Flagship species is a symbol of a defined habitat. They are unique to its place. In conservation projects, if one focused on the conservation and status of flagship species, the status of many other species that share the same habitat can be improved. Therefore, conservation biology chooses a flagship species to support the conservation of biodiversity in a given place. However, there are limitations in using flagship species in conservation projects. Moreover, the use of flagship species may show a limited effect on conserving other species in the habitat.
Despite having these limitations, some projects have shown success in saving other species in that particular habitat. Flagship species generally draws peoples’ attention towards the need to conserve them.
Flagship species are relatively large animals (charismatic species having large bodies). Bengal tiger, giant panda, Golden lion tamarin, African elephant and Asian elephant are several examples of flagship species. Some flagship species are keystone species. Furthermore, some flagship species may or may not be good indicators of biological systems.
What is an Umbrella Species?
Though conservation of many species in an ecosystem is a difficult task, some species make conservation decisions easier. Umbrella species is such kind of species whose conservation indirectly protects many other species in the ecosystem. Hence, umbrella species can be used to make conservation-related decisions. These species have a larger habitat needs and other requirements. Furthermore, when umbrella species are conserved, it causes the conservation of many other species. Hence, monitoring umbrella species and conserving or protecting them will result in high-quality habitat for the other species in that ecosystem.
Though the concept of ‘umbrella species’ is a debating conservation method, it is a faster and less expensive method of conservation since it reduces the cost of investment in sampling. Amur tiger is one umbrella species. Grizzly bear is another. Many umbrella species are migratory since they need larger habitat requirements.
What are the Similarities Between Flagship and Umbrella Species?
- Flagship and umbrella species make conservation decisions easier.
- However, the use of both flagship and umbrella species has limitations.
- Both types of species are relatively large animals.
- Conservation of both flagship and umbrella species causes the conservation of many other species in ecosystems.
- Both types of species emphasize and encourage people to conserve biodiversity.
- Most flagship and umbrella species are endangered.
What is the Difference Between Flagship and Umbrella Species?
Flagship species acts as an ambassador, icon or symbol for a specific habitat, campaign or environmental cause. Umbrella species acts as a species whose conservation indirectly protects the many species in an ecosystem. So, this is the key difference between flagship and umbrella species. Flagship species draws people’s attention to conserve biodiversity while umbrella species makes conservation-related decisions easier.
Below infographic summarizes the differences between flagship and umbrella species.
Summary – Flagship vs Umbrella Species
Flagship and umbrella species are two types of important species in ecosystems. Their conservation facilitates the conservation of many other species in an ecosystem, which is a difficult task. Flagship species acts as an icon or symbol for a defined habitat. Therefore, flagship species supports biodiversity conservation of a given area. Umbrella species is a species whose conservation indirectly conserves many other species in the ecosystem. Hence, protecting umbrella species protects many other species. Umbrella species often have a large area requirement, unlike flagship species. Moreover, the use of umbrella species to conserve species in an ecosystem is a faster and less expensive conservation method. Thus, this summarizes the difference between flagship and umbrella species.