Using ensemble modeling to predict the impacts of assisted migration on recipient ecosystems

Peterson, Katie, and Bode, Michael (2021) Using ensemble modeling to predict the impacts of assisted migration on recipient ecosystems. Conservation Biology, 35 (2). pp. 678-687.

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Assisted migration is a controversial conservation measure that aims to protect threatened species by moving part of their population outside its natural range. Although this could save species from extinction, it also introduces a range of risks. The magnitude of the threat to recipient ecosystems has not been investigated quantitatively, despite being the most common criticism leveled at the action. We used an ensemble modeling framework to estimate the risks of assisted migration to existing species within ecosystems. With this approach, we calculated the consequences of an assisted migration project across a very large combination of translocated species and recipient ecosystems. We predicted the probability of a successful assisted migration and the number of local extinctions would result from establishment of the translocated species. Using an ensemble of1.5x106simulated 15-species recipient ecosystems, we estimated that translocated species will successfully establish in 83% of cases if introduced to stable, high-quality habitats. However, assisted migration projects were estimated to cause an average of 0.6 extinctions and 5% of successful translocations triggered 4 or more local extinctions. Quantifying the impacts to species within recipient ecosystems is critical to help managers weigh the benefits and negative consequences of assisted migration.

Item ID: 64459
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1523-1739
Keywords: assisted colonization, ensemble modeling, restoration, risk analysis
Copyright Information: © 2020 Society for Conservation Biology
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2020 07:40
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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