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Identifying correlates of success and failure of native freshwater fish reintroductions
- Cochran‐Biederman, Jennifer L., Wyman, Katherine E., French, William E., Loppnow, Grace L.
- Conservation biology 2015 v.29 no.1 pp. 175-186
- case studies, climate change, freshwater fish, genetic variation, habitats, indigenous species, managers, monitoring, planning, prediction, recruitment, spawning, water quality
- Reintroduction of imperiled native freshwater fish is becoming an increasingly important conservation tool amidst persistent anthropogenic pressures and new threats related to climate change. We summarized trends in native fish reintroductions in the current literature, identified predictors of reintroduction outcome, and devised recommendations for managers attempting future native fish reintroductions. We constructed random forest classifications using data from 260 published case studies of native fish reintroductions to estimate the effectiveness of variables in predicting reintroduction outcome. The outcome of each case was assigned as a success or failure on the basis of the author's perception of the outcome and on whether or not survival, spawning, or recruitment were documented during post‐reintroduction monitoring. Inadequately addressing the initial cause of decline was the best predictor of reintroduction failure. Variables associated with habitat (e.g., water quality, prey availability) were also good predictors of reintroduction outcomes, followed by variables associated with stocking (e.g., genetic diversity of stock source, duration of stocking event). Consideration of these variables by managers during the planning process may increase the likelihood for successful outcomes in future reintroduction attempts of native freshwater fish.