Managed Relocation

A close up of a blue, orange, and white butterfly perched on small green leaves
A Karner blue butterfly risk assessment is included in this report as one of four case studies

NPS/Randy Knutson

Download the Managed Relocation report [19.3 MB PDF]

Changing climate and introduced species are placing an increasing number of species at risk of extinction. With mounting evidence that species may go extinct as a consequence of environmental change, managers in some agencies and organizations are increasingly considering measures such as managed relocation of species—also known as assisted dispersal or assisted migration--intended to protect species by relocating them to locations with more favorable biotic or climatic conditions. Such actions entail risks to both the organisms being moved, and to the recipient ecosystems. Understanding the nature of risks involved should be a key step to inform decision-making in considering relocation actions.

This report and an accompanying worksheet describe risk-assessment protocols to help managers of parks and other agencies evaluate the ecological risks of species managed relocation as part of planning and decision making. This is a tool for managers that does not dictate a decision; rather, the protocols and accompanying spreadsheet seek to help a decision maker structure a process to inform decisions. Actual decisions regarding potential relocation actions will require additional analysis of a variety of topics including policy, and environmental, social, and economic effects of managed relocation.
View overlooking forested mountain valley on a cloudy day. Snowcapped peaks surround lakes, with dead tree with gray-white bark in foreground
Fire suppression or intense fires, mountain pine beetles, diseases, drought, and biome shifts due to loss of area of climate suitability create a complicated picture for the future of whitebark pine

Last updated: March 12, 2021

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