UKTC Archive

Re: Guidance on Hedge Translocation

Subject: Re: Guidance on Hedge Translocation
From: Steve Chamberlain
Date: Aug 02 2006 09:47:54
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Quoting Edmund Hopkins <>:

Surely the key to moving this hedge is a big bucket, with timing and
supervision also very important. Dom was modest about shifting his Devon
woodbank but I guess that would have been equally problematic.

I think the consensus on translocation generally is that it cannot work as
well as in situ conservation for features of great ecological complexity
because that complexity is lost.

Unless the budget is astronomical, or the PR is sufficient to quash any bean counter, translocation of any substantial chunk of countryside is fraught with problems. Not the least of these is the potential for loss of complexity, as Edmund suggests, but the other factor is: can you transplant a sufficiently big lump of it that it will be self-sustaining? If not, can you afford to keep managing it in perpetuity? Or, if integrity of the original community is less of a concern, can you link the transplanted bit to other nearby reasonably intact bits of countryside and create something reasonably 'natural'?

There has certainly been some success in 'Straya transplanting individuals and small populations of threatened plant species, but much of that success is predicated on being able to replicate at least some of the ecological parameters that obtained at the original site (similar climate, rainfall, soils, pollinators(?), dispersal mechanisms and so on). But no matter the degree of success (and I acknowledge the worth of these efforts in helping conservation of threatened species), it's very expensive and, ultimately, a little narrowly focused - the best bet is to make efforts to ensure conservation in situ, as it saves everyone all that running around and expense involved in trying to recreate the exact balance of limiting factors that evolution has been doing for the past few million years.

Steve Chamberlain
Bangalay Botanical Surveys

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