Galapagos Verde 2050 Continues Contributing to Ecological Restoration of South Plaza

The Galapagos Verde 2050 team.

During May and June our team of scientists and volunteers, along with the collaboration of the Galapagos National Park Directorate, continued the initial phase in the process of ecological restoration of South Plaza through the recuperation of the cacti population (Opuntia echios var. echios). This species not only shapes the ecosystem of the island but is the main food source for terrestrial iguanas, whose population is very abundant in South Plaza.

Baby cacti hand grown to restore South Plaza populations.
Baby cacti hand-grown to restore South Plaza populations. Photo by: Liza Díaz Lalova/CDF.

During these two months 430 seedlings were planted in three sites where historical evidence showed that they were once populated by cacti. Due to the extreme arid conditions of the island, one part of the seedlings were planted using the Groasis technology to save water and another part under natural conditions for control.

Getting supplies at the dock on South Plaza Island.
Getting supplies at the dock on South Plaza Island. Photo by: Liza Díaz Lalova/CDF.

Even though the planting process took only a couple of weeks, we needed more than a year and a half of arduous work to arrive to this crucial moment in the island restoration.

South Plaza Island on restoration process .
South Plaza Island on restoration process. Photo by: Liza Díaz Lalova/CDF.

Our work included several phases, mainly: the recuperation of seeds from ripe fruits and iguana droppings, germination, care, a rigorous quarantine, transportation to the island, and finally sowing and protection with nets until the plants will be old and big enough to avoid being preyed by iguanas and birds.

Maintaining water levels is key during monitoring.
Maintaining water levels is key during monitoring. Photo by: Liza Díaz Lalova/CDF.

Our work continues, and our challenge is to recuperate the ecological integrity of the island and its capacity to generate services to human beings such as the aesthetics of the landscape and its unique biodiversity.

The Project Galapagos Verde 2050 is implemented by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park Directorate with the support of various strategic partners like the Autonomous Decentralized Government of Floreana, the Ecological Airport of Galapagos, the Agency of Regulation Biosecurity Control and Quarantine of Galapagos (ABG), the Navy of Ecuador and the Ecuadorean Air Force (in Baltra). Financially this project is possible thanks to the support of the COmON Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and BESS Forest Club.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Drève du Pieuré 19, 1160 Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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