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Moral Relevance of Range and Naturalness in Assisted Migration

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Assisted migration is a controversial conservation measure that includes moving species threatened by climate change beyond their indigenous range. Sandler argues that assisted migration exhausts most of the value of the species moved and that assisted migration, thus, fails to be a workable conservation measure. We show how accepting the moral relevance of species' indigenous range helps to reconcile Sandler's argument with earlier arguments about value loss in ecosystem restoration by Elliot and Katz. Contrary to Sandler, they do not favour losing a biological unit to retaining it in a human-influenced form. Drawing on the distinction between property- and history-based understandings of naturalness, we further argue that the outcomes of assisted migration to the predicted range are more natural in the property-based sense of the term, and thus retain more value, than the outcomes of "assisted migration" elsewhere.
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Keywords: Assisted migration; conservation under climate change; naturalness; species' indigenous range

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2016

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has a Journal Impact Factor (2017) of 1.852. 5 Year Impact Factor: 1.8.
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