A Radical Step to Preserve a Species: Assisted Migration

Species of life already threatened by human overdevelopment and disappearing habitats face a new danger, and traditional conservation techniques may not be enough to save them. Global warming is already altering ecosystems and threatening some species, like the Bay checkerspot butterfly, with extinction. In response, conservation biologists try a radical technique that has never been used for this purpose before: assisted migration, or the directed movement of species to cooler areas where they can avoid expected temperature increases in some regions over the next 100 years. Yet biologists are hesitant because ecosystems are fragile and the risks are high. Scientists must take into account the other species that an endangered animal relies on; if they do not move whole networks of life, the translocated creatures may die. Introducing new species to environments carries the danger that they may become predatory and disrupt their new habitats, killing off existing life. While scientists argue over the merits of assisted migration, they all agree that the most effective conservation technique would be to end global warming. – YaleGlobal

A Radical Step to Preserve a Species: Assisted Migration

Carl Zimmer
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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