This morning, just a quick post to highlight some of the work being done over at the Early Career Ecologists blog. I found their recent entry on assisted migration fascinating:
The idea is simple- if climate in many places is (or will soon be) changing faster than the local long-lived plant species can migrate, it might become necessary for humans to physically relocate them in order to preserve individual species and/or overall ecosystem function. However, this is only possible to the extent that researchers understand precisely how climate is changing and what factors determine species range; haphazard relocation could encourage the proliferation of invasive species and the disruption of native communities.
This whole discussion is very reminiscent of that surrounding geo-engineering (e.g. here and here): we know that humans are disrupting natural systems at an alarming rate, but do we know enough to try and modify those systems even further to mitigate the damage? Is it prudent to pursue such techniques as a worst-case-scenario fallback option, or are such efforts a waste of scarce resources, or (worse) an excuse to avoid the fundamentally hard work of greenhouse gas emissions reduction? What do you think?