Canadian Forest Service Publications

Ecological implications for assisted migration in Canadian forests. 2011. Winder, R.S.; Nelson, E.A.; Beardmore, T. The Forestry chronicle 87(6): 731-744.

Year: 2011

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 32924

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Forest ecosystems are already being impacted by climate change as natural migration rates are outpaced by rapidly changing climate conditions. Human-assisted migration has been proposed as a potential management option to maintain optimal health and productivity of Canada's forests; however, a better understanding of the ecological implications is needed to inform decision-making on assisted migration (AM). This paper examines the ecological constraints and consequences of AM, and discusses options for their mitigation at three scales: translocation over long distances (assisted long-distance migration), translocation just beyond the range limit (assisted range expansion), and translocation of genotypes within the existing range (assisted population migration). From an ecological perspective, we find that AM is a feasible management option for tree species and that constraints and consequences can be minimized through careful application of available knowledge and tools.