Transplantations and relocation of species at risk: learning from the past to plan for the future
Clements, David R. .
Translocation of rare plant species to restore Garry oak ecosystems in western Canada: challenges and opportunities.
Covering just 2000 ha, Garry Oak ecosystems (GOEs) in western Canada contain about 10% of the SARA-listed species at risk in Canada, including 30plants listed by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) as Endangered. The Province of BChas categorized 70 GOE species as either red or blue-listed. Since European settlement around 1840, GOE sites have been largely degraded by human disturbance, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, overgrazing, fire suppression and other factors. Climate change potentially may exacerbate these threats. A key strategy to mitigate this loss of biodiversity is to translocate endangered and threatened plants to GOE restoration sites. However,any kind of activity involving federally listed species (under the Species at Risk Act) which are on federal lands requires a permit, and would include either introduction or re-introduction of species. Such permits stipulate minimal impact on the species involved and their critical habitat. The Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team (GOERT) helps facilitate any proposed translocations by providing expertise and advice on species atrisk and restoration. GOERT also strongly encourages restoration practitioners to focus on plant populations that are already present on a site. Given the extent that most GOE sites are degraded, and the specter of climate change, there is a need to take a closer look at the opportunities afforded by translocation. More research on rare species is urgently needed, examining the genetics of the species in relation to population size to ensure protocols do not threaten the species they hope to protect. However, if the potential translocation of some of the species is delayed too long it may be too late to save some of the relict populations and utilize the full range of diversity exhibited in GOE.
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1 - Trinity Western University, Biology, 7600 Glover Rd., Langley, BC, V2Y 1Y1, Canada
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Delaware A/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 9:15 AM