Let ’em sink?

New study suggests possibly abandoning efforts to save native flora and fauna on islands sinking due to climate change

It may make more sense to let some islands and their native fauna and flora disappear under water rather than try to save them, a new study suggests.

Many of the Earth’s 180,000 or so islands—which are home to one-fifth of its animal and plant species—have been plagued by destructive rats and other invasive species, according to Grist.org. And a study published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution suggests it may be more prudent for conservationists to abandon their native-species-saving efforts on the many islands that will “be completely inundated with one meter of sea-level rise, which is expected within this century,” due to climate change.

“It may be that eventually we will be faced with some tough decisions about whether we move species in order to save them or whether we do nothing and let them go extinct,” said researcher James Russell of the University of Auckland.