Research, Connect, Protect



Translocation as a Conservation Strategy

Jessica J Hellmann


University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA

Humans have exploited nature and its creatures for thousands of years. But as threats to nature from pollution, overexploitation, invasive species, and other side effects of human civilization emerged, people began to worry about the protection of nature. And they began to take steps to conserve organisms and ecosystems for future use. This intervention to prevent the decline of nature involves many tools and strategies, including the movement of seeds, shoots, and animals from one location to another. This translocation of organisms has a long history because economic, social, and even accidental reasons compel us to pick things up and deposit them somewhere else. This article discusses why and how people move organisms, and sometimes entire populations, to advance the cause of conservation. It is informed by the successes and failures of past translocation efforts, and it raises new reasons why translocations may play an increasing role in conservation planning in the future. Translocations for conservation are rarely a panacea because they usually address conservation problems for an individual species in a specific location, but they can be a powerful tool that may work when other conservation strategies fail. In recent years, translocation has reemerged as an active topic of debate, and still more research can shed light on the appropriate and inappropriate uses of translocation for emerging conservation objectives.