Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change

Lunt, Ian D., Byrne, Margaret, Hellmann, Jessica J., Mitchell, Nicola J., Garnett, Stephen T., Hayward, Matt W., Martin, Tara G., McDonald-Maddden, Eve, Williams, Stephen E. and Zander, Kerstin K. (2013) Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change. Biological Conservation, 157 172-177. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.034

Author Lunt, Ian D.
Byrne, Margaret
Hellmann, Jessica J.
Mitchell, Nicola J.
Garnett, Stephen T.
Hayward, Matt W.
Martin, Tara G.
McDonald-Maddden, Eve
Williams, Stephen E.
Zander, Kerstin K.
Title Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
Publication date 2013-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.034
Volume 157
Start page 172
End page 177
Total pages 6
Place of publication Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Assisted colonisation has received considerable attention recently, and the risks and benefits of introducing taxa to sites beyond their historical range have been vigorously debated. The debate has primarily focused on using assisted colonization to enhance the persistence of taxa that would otherwise be stranded in unsuitable habitat as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change and habitat fragmentation. However, a complementary motivation for assisted colonisation could be to relocate taxa to restore declining ecosystem processes that support biodiversity in recipient sites. We compare the benefits and risks of species introductions motivated by either goal, which we respectively term ‘push’ versus ‘pull’ strategies for introductions to preserve single species or for restoration of ecological processes. We highlight that, by focusing on push and neglecting pull options, ecologists have greatly under-estimated potential benefits and risks that may result from assisted colonisation. Assisted colonisation may receive higher priority in climate change adaptation strategies if relocated taxa perform valuable ecological functions (pull) rather than have little collateral benefit (push). Potential roles include enhancing resistance to invasion by undesired species, supporting co-dependent species, performing keystone functions, providing temporally critical resources, replacing taxa of low ecological redundancy, and avoiding time lags in the provisioning of desired functions.

Highlights ► The assisted colonisation debate has primarily focused on persistence of species. ► A complementary motivation is to relocate species to restore ecosystem processes. ► We assess benefits and risks of ‘push’ (species) versus ‘pull’ (ecosystem) options. ► Ecological function options in assisted colonisation have conservation benefits. ► Assisted colonisation to restore ecological function is a key adaptation strategy.
Keyword Ecological replacement
Managed relocation
Climate change adaptation
Ecosystem management
Managed relocation
Global change
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 28 November 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
CEED Publications
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 38 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 43 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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