Discover how our projects foster the protection of the Galapagos Islands and how we work to ensure that they remain a natural paradise for generations to come.

All Programs

Paul Mayorga/CDF


Conservation of threatened plant species

More than half of the endemic plant species in Galapagos are currently classified as threatened. The potential loss of these imperiled species not only disrupts ecosystem integrity, but also jeopardizes the survival of iconic native fauna that depend on it. We are updating the IUCN Red List of endangered plant species of Galapagos in order to enable targeted species conservation actions.

Heinke Jäger-CDF


Scalesia forest restoration

Scalesia forests once thrived on the Galapagos Islands, forming a unique humid ecosystem for plants, insects, giant tortoises and birds. Today, only 1% of the forests’ original distribution remains, with several endemic species, including the Scalesia themselves, struggling to survive. We are working to restore this important habitat and given the rapid rate of forest loss, it is a race against time.

William Bensted-Smith-CDF


Marine biodiversity research

The introduction of alien species is arguably the most important driver of biodiversity loss for oceanic islands. Our work seeks to evaluate the effects of alien invasive species, climate change, and other anthropogenic pressures on the biodiversity of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the Eastern Tropical Pacific in order to better sustain coastal communities and prevent marine species extinction.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Deep-ocean Exploration & Conservation

The Eastern Tropical Pacific conceals extraordinary, vast deep-ocean ecosystems, plunging from oceanic islands to depths of 3,800 meter, most of which remain largely unexplored, presenting real challenges for effective protection and management. Despite their significance, these ecosystems are poorly understood and subject to persistent threats, including overfishing, climate change, pollution, and the prospect for deep-sea mining.

Juan Manuel Garcia-CDF


Education and Community Outreach

At the Charles Darwin Foundation, we believe that sustainable conservation depends on the involvement of the local community. Our goal is to inspire future generations of local conservation leaders, and embed conservation and sustainable development in the local culture.

Esteban Barrera


Sustainable Fisheries

The artisanal fishing sector is vital to the Galapagos Islands, but it is facing increasing challenges such as climate change, unfair value chains, and over-exploitation. Our program seeks to create a more prosperous, autonomous, and fair seafood system that is respectful of the natural environment, and fosters resilience against environmental, socio-economic, and climate change.

Carlos Espinosa


Sustainable Tourism

While the Galapagos remains one of the best-managed destinations, with exponential visitor growth, tourism continues to impact this delicate ecosystem. We are studying how to make tourism in Galapagos more sustainable, in a way that reduces the impact on Galapagos’ fragile ecosystems while continuing to benefit the local community.

Joshua Vela


Sea turtle conservation

Important feeding and nesting sites for the endangered East Pacific green turtle in Galapagos are increasingly threatened by tourism, marine traffic and climate change. Our research is helping to identify the key areas where sea turtles are most vulnerable, and to develop solutions to protect them in the long term.

Nicolas Moity-CDF


Ocean governance

Ecologically, the ocean is one interconnected system. Yet international law has divided it into arbitrary maritime zones based on geopolitical interests. Our research seeks to improve transnational ocean governance and conservation outcomes in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, through collaboration with scientists, academics, practitioners, and decision-makers.

Paúl Mayorga-CDF


Urban and rural restoration

While a mere 3% of the Galapagos Islands are home to people, our presence in this small fraction of the archipelago has put the native vegetation at risk. Our restoration program in urban and rural areas engages the local community in conservation and restoration efforts to secure the long-term health of these unique ecosystems.



Control of the avian vampire fly

In a race against time, our scientists are working hard to find ways to control the avian vampire fly (Philornis downsi), an invasive parasitic fly that is affecting the survival of the unique small landbirds of the Galapagos Islands, including the iconic Darwin’s finches.

Juan Manuel Garcia-CDF


Giant tortoise conservation

Giant tortoises are emblems of Galapagos. They are critical ecosystem engineers, and they are also important for the local economy. Yet, all 12 species of Galapagos Giant Tortoises are of conservation concern. Our work focuses on conserving these gentle giants through research and education.

Carlos Espinosa-CDF


Conservation of Galapagos Marine birds

Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, waved albatross, and flamingos are among the most iconic birds in Galapagos. Yet, these sentinel species are all classified as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List, and face continued risk of population decline.

Jordi Chias


Shark Ecology & Conservation

Sharks have thrived on our planet for over 400 million years. Yet overfishing has drastically reduced global shark populations, with many species now threatened with extinction. Our scientific work seeks to inform conservation measures, so sharks are better protected in Galapagos and the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

Andres Cruz

Protect Galapagos, Impact the World

The impact you make on this small ecosystem of enormous biodiversity is part of a larger footprint you are leaving for the world's future. Join us on our mission to safeguard one of our planet’s most important natural treasures through science and conservation action by making a donation today. Thank you for making an impact with us.