Assisted Colonization Is Not A Viable Conservation Strategy
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.