Log in

Editor's Picks

Karl Georg Theodor Kotschy was an Austrian botanist and...
Eike Jablonski | Jun 11, 2016
Quercus grisea - Greenlee County, AZ
This article is an account of the oak field trip organized...
Charles Snyers | Sep 22, 2017
North American oaks have a northern temperate origin and...
Website Editor | Oct 12, 2017

Plant Focus

Quercus acutissima subsp. kingii
Quercus acutissima Carruth. is a species whose natural distribution covers a vast territory in East and Southeast Asia, from central Nepal...

Relocate Species to Ensure Their Survival?

Quercus acerifolia, endangered in its natural habitat according to The Red List of Oaks, thrives in The Morton Arboretum. Photo: G. Sternberg.

The Economist recently published an article that caught my interest: "A modern ark: To save endangered species, move them to more congenial places." It proposes the idea that in order to save species from the threat of global warming, it may be necessary to artificially relocate them to cooler conditions, because they would not be able to overcome physical barriers on their own. Conservation was one of the main themes of the recent IOS Conference, but I don't think such a radical idea was mentioned. IOS members are familiar with the notion of growing oak species in gardens and collections far from the plants' natural habitat (indeed, some even go as far as planting them in the Southern Hemisphere!), but perhaps in the future this type of radical ex situ conservation or relocation will be of key importance. As the article states, "In future the question will no longer be how to preserve species in particular places but how to move them around to ensure their survival." Of course, it is a highly polemic suggestion (read the comments below the article to get a feel for the controversy), but it is interesting that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), whose Red List workshop for oaks was held at the Morton prior to the Conference, has apparently "given a slight nod to such relocations." The article can be read here.