Conservation translocations, anthropogenic movements of species to prevent their extinction, have increased substantially over the last few decades. Although multiple species are frequently moved to the same location, current translocation guidelines consider species in isolation. This practice ignores important interspecific interactions and thereby risks translocation failure. We model three different two-species systems to illustrate the inherent complexity of multispecies translocations and to assess the influence of different interaction types (consumer-resource, mutualism, and competition) on translocation strategies. We focus on how these different interaction types influence the optimal founder population sizes for successful translocations and the order in which the species are moved (simultaneous or sequential). Further, we assess the effect of interaction strength in simultaneous translocations and the time delay between translocations when moving two species sequentially. Our results show that translocation decisions need to reflect the type of interaction. While all translocations of interacting species require a minimum founder population size, which is demarked by an extinction boundary, consumer–resource translocations also have a maximum founder population limit. Above the minimum founder size, increasing the number of translocated individuals leads to a substantial increase in the extinction boundary of competitors and consumers, but not of mutualists. Competitive and consumer–resource systems benefit from sequential translocations, but the order of translocations does not change the outcomes for mutualistic interaction partners noticeably. Interspecific interactions are important processes that shape population dynamics and should therefore be incorporated into the quantitative planning of multispecies translocations. Our findings apply whenever interacting species are moved, for example, in reintroductions, conservation introductions, biological control, or ecosystem restoration.
Plein, M., Bode, M., Moir, M., & Vesk, P. A. (2016). Translocation strategies for multiple species depend on interspecific interaction type. Ecological Applications, 26(4), 1186–1197. https://doi.org/10.1890/15-0409