Assisted Colonization Is Not A Viable Conservation Strategy

Anthony Ricciardi, Daniel Simberloff
Created: 3/24/2009 -

Abstract

A potential conservation strategy increasingly discussed by conservation biologists is the translocation of species to favorable habitat beyond their native range to protect them from human-induced threats, such as climate change. Even if preceded by careful risk assessment, such action is likely to produce myriad unintended and unpredictable consequences. Accurate risk assessment is impeded by contingency: the impacts of introduced species vary over time and space under the influence of local environmental variables, interspecific interactions and evolutionary change. Some impacts, such as native species extinctions, are large and irrevocable. Here we argue that conservation biologists have not yet developed a sufficient understanding of the impacts of introduced species to make informed decisions regarding species translocations.

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Keywords

Sector Addressed
Conservation / Restoration
Wildlife
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Natural Resource Management / Conservation
Governance and Policy
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Biodiversity
Habitat extent
Invasive / non-native species, pests
Range shifts
Species of concern