Assisted migration – a conservation strategy?

If, like me, you too are in the habit of picking up a free copy of the New York Times which we get every day on campus here at Fresno State (and if you are not in the habit – what is the matter with you?), perhaps you also look forward to the Tuesday edition which contains the special section Science Times. You might have noticed that today’s edition had a great front page story extremely relevant to reconciliation ecology and the first discussion we had of the topic yesterday: how to address the challenge of climate change driving geographical shifts in ecological zones and species ranges? And in this particular case (the example in the article is the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly from our own region) the article addresses the challenge of preserving complex processes such as seasonal migration.

The article (well written, as always, by the excellent Carl Zimmer, who also blogs The Loom on Science Blogs) raises many interesting issues and also points to several recent papers in the literature which promise to be good fodder for discussion in our class in the coming weeks. I will try and make the papers available on Blackboard soon, but meanwhile, do go read this article and post your thoughts on the issues here in the comments. Or, if you really have a strong opinion, post it in a separate posting!

For additional discussion on this topic, you might also check out the Ecolog-L listserv, where someone just started a thread on this NYT article. I subscribe to the list, and encourage you to join it as well – but you can also follow this particular discussion thread via the list archive if you don’t want to subscribe to the list.

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