What's History Got to Do with It? A Response to Seddon's Definition of Reintroduction


  • Dolly Jørgensen

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology & Environmental Science, Umeå University, 90187 Umeå, Sweden
      D. Jørgensen, email dolly@jorgensenweb.net
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D. Jørgensen, email dolly@jorgensenweb.net


A recent article in Restoration Ecology by Philip Seddon aims at unraveling the definitions of various types of species translocations—from reintroductions to assisted colonization—and points out the slippery slope of misused words. I argue here that defining reintroduction is not as straightforward as Seddon presents it. Commonly used definitions of what constitutes a reintroduction all include some reference to “historical” conditions, but what exactly that encompasses is left open. I examine two parts of the reintroduction confusion: first, how the guidance documents and laws define reintroduction and second, how these definitions might be interpreted when reintroductions are presented in public forums. Rather than moving away from reintroductions toward interventions of other names, I encourage scientists to use a broad definition of reintroduction presented by the IUCN to open up reintroduction as a viable label for bringing a species back to an area regardless of when it was previously there or why it became extinct.