Testing the feasibility of assisted migration as an ex situ conservation tool on selected threatened bryophytes

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Assisted migration (AM) is an approach for preventing the loss of biodiversity caused by climate change. It is the human-assisted movement of populations of the endangered species to new locations where they will be suited to projected future climate conditions. Three bryophytes red listed in both Finland and
Europe, the mosses Meesia longiseta and Tortula cernua, and the complex thalloid liverwort Mannia fragrans are tested for the feasibility of assisted migration as an ex-situ conservation tool.
Currently, criteria proposed for selecting plant species which may best profit from assisted migration (see www.luomus.fi/escape) are heavily focused on angiosperms, spore-dispersing bryophytes have rarely been investigated the potential of the utilization of this conservation methods. In this study, we will analyze the background data required against the criteria set for angiosperm AM and test whether these criteria are also suitable for bryophytes. The three focal bryophyte species represent different habitat types, and their occurrences have all become rare in Finland. The following measures will be investigated against each species on whether they are: 1) threatened by climate change, 2) climate change is predicted to cause the species´ suitable area to move outside their current ranges, 3) moving to the new area where it not for dispersal barriers or lack of time, and 4) safe, feasible and ecologically sound to be translocated.
Therefore, conservation priorities, background knowledge of the biology and ecology, and the feasibility of the conservation plan of the three focal bryophyte species are investigated. We aim at providing an application better suited for conserving bryophytes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Conservation
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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