Draper, D., Marques, I. & Iriondo, J.M. (2019) Species distribution models with field validation, a key approach for successful selection of receptor sites in conservation translocationsGlobal Ecology and Conservation, 19, e00653. DOI:10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00653 (IF2019 2,526; Q2 Biodiversity Conservation)
Conservation translocations of threatened species are being widely used to mitigate human impacts. However, their effects are surrounded by some controversy since these actions have often failed to meet planned objectives. Despite the limited number of published studies, existing evidence indicates that a main constraint for the long-term success of translocation actions is the selection of suitable receptor sites. In this study, we present a methodological approach to identify suitable receptor sites that combines the use of species distribution models (SDMs) and in situ field validation trials. This method was successfully applied to translocate a population of Critically Endangered Narcissus cavanillesii, which was going to be destroyed by the construction of the Alqueva dam (Portugal), the largest dam in Europe. The results of the SDM developed for the target species were biologically validated through in situ germination trials in sites with contrasting species suitability values. The population translocated to the site selected with this approach has experienced a stable demographic trend for more than ten years and established new mature plants outside the translocated patches. This methodology, which has proven to be a fast and reliable approach for the selection of appropriate receptor sites for conservation translocations, could be useful in other studies.