Such discussion is as critical as the technical and scientific questions of relocation: the "can we do it and how we do it," the authors state.
Minteer points out that while moving species around is nothing new, the climate change rationale for doing so is. "Looking past creating parks and shielding species from bullets, bulldozers and oil spills in favor of the anticipatory relocation for conservation purposes strikes many as different, in terms of motive and perhaps the extent of the consequences."
Minteer and Collins's call to reassess conservation goals in the face of climate change is timely. While the practice has no guarantees of success, managed relocation of species is already being put into practice. The Florida torreya tree is an example, along with the proposed relocation of the Quino Checkerspot butterfly and the Iberian lynx.
Collins says that the real scientific concern with species relocation voiced by prominent skeptics is that crossing evolutionary boundaries via managed relocation will produce a number of negative ecological and genetic consequences for species and systems on the receiving end.
How to leap the ethical gulf separating decisions about which species should be moved and "saved" is also critical to the debate. Though some argue that human activity has already played an active role in shifting species and that some populations are "naturally" undergoing range shifts without assistance due to climate change in response to human pressures as well as natural ones.
However, as Minteer points out, "There is also the more philosophical objection to the fact that 'we' are doing this, rather than the populations themselves, and that this is therefore another example of human arr
|Contact: Margaret Coulombe|
Arizona State University