Optimal timing for managed relocation of species faced with climate change

Nature Climate Change
By: , and 



Managed relocation is a controversial climate-adaptation strategy to combat negative climate change impacts on biodiversity. While the scientific community debates the merits of managed relocation1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12, species are already being moved to new areas predicted to be more suitable under climate change13,14. To inform these moves, we construct a quantitative decision framework to evaluate the timing of relocation in the face of climate change. We find that the optimal timing depends on many factors, including the size of the population, the demographic costs of translocation and the expected carrying capacities over time in the source and destination habitats. In some settings, such as when a small population would benefit from time to grow before risking translocation losses, haste is ill advised. We also find that active adaptive management15,16 is valuable when the effect of climate change on source habitat is uncertain, and leads to delayed movement.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Optimal timing for managed relocation of species faced with climate change
Series title Nature Climate Change
DOI 10.1038/nclimate1170
Volume 1
Issue 5
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Publisher location London, UK
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 5 p.
First page 261
Last page 265
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