Planning for assisted colonization of plants in a warming world
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Assisted colonization is one way of facilitating range shifts for species that are restricted in their ability to move in response to climate change. Here we conceptualize and apply a new decision framework for modelling assisted colonization of plant species prior to in situ realization. Three questions were examined: a) Is species translocation useful in a certain area? b) where, and c) how long will it be successful in the future? Applying our framework to Carex foetida in Italy at the core of its distribution and its southern edge revealed that assisted colonization could be successful in short-term (2010–2039) climate conditions, partially in medium (2040–2069) but not in long-term (2070–2099) scenarios. We show that, for some species, it is likely that assisted colonization would be successful in some portions of the recipient site under current and short-term climate conditions, but over the mid- and long-term, climate changes will make species translocation unsuccessful. The proposed decision framework can help identify species that will need different conservation actions (seed banks and/or botanical gardens) when assisted colonization is unlikely to be successful. Furthermore it has broad applicability, as it can support planning of assisted migration in mountainous areas in the face of climate change.
- Biological & Environmental Sciences [189 items ]