Can ecosystem-scale translocations mitigate the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity? : promises, pitfalls, and possibilities

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Boyer, Stephane
Case, Bradley S.
Lefort, Marie-Caroline
Waterhouse, B.R.
Wratten, S.D.
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
ecosystem-scale translocation (EST)
climate change
ecological conservation
Boyer, S., Case, B.S., Lefort, M.-C., Waterhouse, B.R., & Wratten, S.D. (2016). Can ecosystem-scale translocations mitigate the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity?: Promises, pitfalls, and possibilities [version 1; referees: 2 approved]. F1000Research, 5, p.146-157. doi:10.12688/f1000research.7914.1
Because ecological interactions are the first components of the ecosystem to be impacted by climate change, future forms of threatened-species and ecosystem management should aim at conserving complete, functioning communities rather than single charismatic species. A possible way forward is the deployment of ecosystem-scale translocation (EST), where above- and below-ground elements of a functioning terrestrial ecosystem (including vegetation and topsoil) are carefully collected and moved together. Small-scale attempts at such practice have been made for the purpose of ecological restoration. By moving larger subsets of functioning ecosystems from climatically unstable regions to more stable ones, EST could provide a practical means to conserve mature and complex ecosystems threatened by climate change. However, there are a number of challenges associated with EST in the context of climate change mitigation, in particular the choice of donor and receptor sites. With the aim of fostering discussion and debate about the EST concept, we 1) outline the possible promises and pitfalls of EST in mitigating the impact of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity and 2) use a GIS-based approach to illustrate how potential source and receptor sites, where EST could be trialed and evaluated globally, could be identified.
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Copyright: © 2016 Boyer S. et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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