Terrestrial Biodiversity Adaptation Research Network

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Home Workshops 3. Managed Relocation

Managed Relocation Workshop

Workshop Report: Preparing for climate change: move who when, where, how and why?

Location: York, Western Australia from 15th to 19th November

Conveners – Stephen Garnett and Nicki Mitchell

This workshop took place in November 2010, in York, Western Australia and was convened by Dr’s Stephen Garnett and Nicki Mitchell. Twenty researchers came together to discuss what factors need to be considered if managed relocation (MR) is undertaken as an adaptation strategy to conserve biodiversity.

Discussions covered five broad areas relating to MR: the selection of taxa or processes to move (who), optimization of timing (when), the procedures for choosing appropriate sites to which to move taxa (where), the protocols of moving (how) and the underlying philosophy of moving biodiversity (why). Workshop outcomes were presented to the 50th meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia in December 2010.

The workshop concluded that MR is not a panacea to climate change adaptation for biodiversity and is pointless without substantial commitment to mitigation, ongoing management of existing threats and a belief in the community that biodiversity can and should be conserved. If these preconditions can be met then the group had the following recommendations:

  • Acknowledge that MR has uses in addition to conservation of threatened species, such as restoration of ecological function

  • Develop formal processes immediately so rapid action possible when necessary

  • Harmonize policy across different jurisdictions

  • Develop quantitative and transparent decision points for process initiation

  • Treat MR as experimental, with appropriate monitoring

  • Discourage ‘guerrilla’ MR that ignores risks and opportunity costs

  • Minimise risks of failure or invasiveness at destination site

  • Recognise that, under climate change, deployment of MR will need revision and monitoring

  • Recognise that MR is more than just an ecological decision, but should also be framed in sociological, economic and ethical terms make MR part of the grand vision of minimising biodiversity loss

The following publication resulted from this workshop:

  1. Burbidge, A. H., M. Byrne, D. Coates, S. T. Garnett, S. Harris, M. W. Haywards, T. G. Martin, E. McDonald-Madden, N. J. Mitchell, S. Nally, and S. Setterfield. 2011. Is Australia ready for assisted colonisation? Policy changes required to facilitate translocation under climate change.Pacific Conservation Biology 17:259-269.

  2. Martin et al (2012). Acting fast avoids extinction: Plight of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle and Orange-bellied Parrot. Conservation Letters (2012) 1-7.

  3. Lunt et al (2013) Using managed relocation to restore ecosystem function and conserve biodiversity under climate change. Biological Conservation.157, 172-177.

  4. Harris et al (submitted) Whose backyard? Choosing recipient sites for managed relocation. Ecological Management and Restoration.

  5. Albrecht G., Brooke C., Bennett D., and S. T. Garnett. (2012) The ethics of assisted colonization in the age of anthropogenic climate change. Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics. DOI 10.1007/s10806-012-9411-1