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Notre Dame researchers describe new tool for evaluating 'managed relocations'
Date:5/26/2009

score a proposed relocation. The criteria include possibility of success of the proposed relocation, its potential for harming the new ecosystem, existing and potential regulatory context for translocation, and the social and cultural importance of the impacted species.

Hellmann, McLachlan and Camacho point out that the tool does not, by itself, produce management recommendations. They note that even within the working group, disagreements still arise over the ethics and efficacy of the managed relocation strategy.

Rather, the tool can help stakeholders in the process identify the sources of their disagreements so that these may be discussed and evaluated, leading to a more thoroughly vetted decision to implement, or reject, such an adaptation strategy.

The working group notes that managed relocation is only one strategy under consideration for addressing climate change. Others include fertilizing the oceans to increase their absorption of greenhouse gases and preserving the genetic diversity of threatened species in seed banks. Their hope is the tool will provide a useful analysis of all such proposed approaches.

They also feel that it will prove useful in considering environmental strategies not directly related to endangered species, such as the suggestion that foresters plant certain species of tress beyond their northern range boundaries for timber harvest or the desire by some stakeholders to relocate aesthetically or culturally valued species outside their historic range. Such activities may take place as humans grapple with how natural resources should be managed as the climate changes.

Hellmann, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2003, is studying the ways in which local and regional climatic effects are altering population dynamics. She uses insects and plants in grassland ecosystems to understand the effects of climate on nature.

McLachlan, a Notre Dame faculty member since 2006, uses the lessons of p
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Contact: William Gilroy
gilroy.6@nd.edu
574-631-4127
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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