Adaptation For Nature: Ecological Impacts of Climate Change and Possible Management Strategies
The last time that the climate was ~6 degrees C warmer than it is today, a relative of alligators lived at the North Pole and mesic forests thrived in the now-desert southwest. These observations tell us that climate matters a lot to where species live. A major challenge under modern climate change, therefore, is predicting where species and ecosystems will live in the future, when climate is much warmer but humans still seek to exploit and benefit from natural resources.
This talk focuses on the limits to species' geographic range change under climate change, drawing upon comparative experimental and genomic research in two contrasting butterfly species that share a northern range boundary. Where species are unlikely to move in response to climate change, a number of possible management actions are possible to assist them in their climatic adjustment. One of these strategies is managed relocation, a controversial idea with ecological side effects that may be small in number but large in consequence. Methods of risk assessment for managed relocation and similar climate change adaptation strategies will be presented.