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

Ian Lunt, Margaret Byrne, Jessica J Hellmann, Nicola J Mitchell, Stephen T Garnett, Matt W Hayward, Tara G Martin, Eve McDonald-Maddden, Stephen E Williams, Kerstin K Zander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

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-estimatedpotential 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, providingtemporally critical resources, replacing taxa of low ecological redundancy, and avoiding time lags in the provisioning of desired functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-177
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Conservation
Volume157
Early online date2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

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ecosystem function
colonization
climate change
biodiversity
ecosystems
ecological restoration
ecological function
ecologists
habitat fragmentation
preserves
keystone species
habitats
persistence
ecosystem
habitat
resource

Cite this

Lunt, I., Byrne, M., Hellmann, J. J., Mitchell, N. J., Garnett, S. T., Hayward, M. W., ... Zander, K. K. (2013). Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change. Biological Conservation, 157, 172-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.034
Lunt, Ian ; 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. / Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change. In: Biological Conservation. 2013 ; Vol. 157. pp. 172-177.
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Lunt, I, Byrne, M, Hellmann, JJ, Mitchell, NJ, Garnett, ST, Hayward, MW, Martin, TG, McDonald-Maddden, E, Williams, SE & Zander, KK 2013, 'Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change', Biological Conservation, vol. 157, pp. 172-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.034

Using assisted colonisation to conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystem function under climate change. / Lunt, Ian; 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.

In: Biological Conservation, Vol. 157, 01.2013, p. 172-177.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Williams, Stephen E

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