A novel, quantitative, decision framework to evaluate the best timing for managed species relocation is published online this week in Nature Climate Change. Managed relocation — where species are moved to a more suitable habitat — has been proposed as a means of combating negative climate change impacts on biodiversity. Though hotly debated within the conservation community, species are already being relocated to areas outside of their current range.
Eve McDonald-Madden and co-authors found that optimal timing depends partly on population size and that when a small population would benefit from time to grow before risking translocation losses, haste is ill-advised. They also found that active adaptive management — where continued information on the source and destination habitats and populations is available — facilitates better management decisions, and is especially valuable when the effect of climate change on source habitat is uncertain.