At the other extreme, we might successfully translocate the species but within five or ten years, that species could proliferate and become an invasive species.
Like a non-native plant that chokes out native plants by hogging the nutrients in the soil.
Translocated animals can become invasive too. It happened in Australia.
The cane toad was introduced back in 1935 to control an insect pest that was destroying Australia sugar cane plantations.
But the cane toad itself became a pest and it destroyed much of the wild life on that continent.
Also, many species are interdependent, intimately connected to one another.
Like animals that eat a certain plant and that plant relies on a certain fungus to help it get nutrients from soil.
And on a certain insect for pollination, we probably have to translocate entire networks of species.
And it's hard to know where to draw the line.
And in addition to all that it's not even clear that the assisted migration or any migration for that matter will help at least for some species.
Earth was already at one of its warm inter-glacial periods when we started burning fossil fuels.
And in the 21st century, global temperatures are expected to rise two to six degrees.
That rate of heating is far greater than during the last glacial retreat some twelve thousand years ago.
Um...Whether to use the assisted migration, this debate is mostly within the biology community right now.
But the ultimate decision makers, in United States at least, will be the government agencies that manage natural resources.
Assisted migration really needs this level of oversight and soon.
Currently there is no public policy on using assisted migration to help species survive climate change.
People aren't even required to see permits to move plants or invertebrate animals around as long as they are not classified as pests.
In one case,a group of conservationists has already take it upon itself to try on their own to save the endangered tree, the Florida Torreya tree through assisted migration.
There is only about a thousand individual Florida Torreyas left and global warming is expected to significantly reduce or eliminate this tree's habitat.
So this conservation group wants to translocate seedlings, Florida Torreya seedlings, 500 kilometres north, in order to expand the species' range.
The group believes that its effort is justified but I and many other biologists will be watching very closely how this maverick group makes out because, like I said there could be unintended consequences.