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Reconstructing a deconstructed concept: Policy tools for implementing assisted migration for species and ecosystem management

Abstract : Assisted migration (AM) is increasingly proposed to limit the impacts of climate change on vulnerable plant and animal populations. However, interpretations of AM as a purely precautionary action along with multiple definitions have hampered the development of precise policy frameworks. Here, our main objective is to identify what type of policy tools are needed for implementing AM programs as part of broader environmental policies. First, we argue that policy frameworks for translocations of endangered species that are subject to climatic stress are fundamentally different from translocations to reinforce climatically exposed ecosystems because the former are risky and stranded in strict regulations while the latter are open to merges with general landscape management. AM implementation can be based on a series of phases where policies should provide appropriate grounds closely related to extant environmental principles. During a “Triggering phase”, AM is clearly a prevention approach as considered by the Rio Declaration, if unambiguously based on evidence that population decline is mainly caused by climate change. During an “Operational phase”, we suggest that policies should enforce experimentation and be explicit on transparent coordination approaches for collating all available knowledge and ensure multi-actor participation prior to any large scale AM program. In addition, precautionary approaches are needed to minimize risks of translocation failures (maladaptation) that can be reduced through redundancy of multiple target sites. Lastly, monitoring and learning policies during an “Adaptive phase” would promote using flexible management rules to react and adjust to any early alerts, positive or negative, as hybridization with local individuals may represent an evolutionary chance. Our analysis of study cases indicates that except for two programs of productive forests in Canada, current AM programs are predominantly small-scale, experimental and applied to endangered species isolated from general environmental management. As the effects of climate change accumulate, policies could include AM as part of larger environmental programs like habitat restoration with common species seeking to provide stable ecosystems in the future.
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Contributor : Armelle Sielinou Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 3:35:50 PM
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Roxane Sansilvestri, Nathalie Frascaria-Lacoste, Juan Fernández-Manjarrés. Reconstructing a deconstructed concept: Policy tools for implementing assisted migration for species and ecosystem management. Environmental Science and Policy, Elsevier, 2015, 51, pp.192-201. ⟨10.1016/j.envsci.2015.04.005⟩. ⟨hal-01569355⟩



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