Translocation of imperiled species under changing climates


Address for correspondence: Mark W. Schwartz, Department of Environmental Science & Policy, 1 Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.


Conservation translocation of species varies from restoring historic populations to managing the relocation of imperiled species to new locations. We review the literature in three areas—translocation, managed relocation, and conservation decision making—to inform conservation translocation under changing climates. First, climate change increases the potential for conflict over both the efficacy and the acceptability of conservation translocation. The emerging literature on managed relocation highlights this discourse. Second, conservation translocation works in concert with other strategies. The emerging literature in structured decision making provides a framework for prioritizing conservation actions—considering many possible alternatives that are evaluated based on expected benefit, risk, and social–political feasibility. Finally, the translocation literature has historically been primarily concerned with risks associated with the target species. In contrast, the managed relocation literature raises concerns about the ecological risk to the recipient ecosystem. Engaging in a structured decision process that explicitly focuses on stakeholder engagement, problem definition and specification of goals from the outset will allow creative solutions to be developed and evaluated based on their expected effectiveness.