Ecological restoration at Special Use sites

Ecological restoration at Special Use sites

Ecological restoration in Special Use sites: Evaluation of diversity in natural and intervened areas
(Galapagos Verde 2050). PC-33-22

This project is currently Active

The Galapagos Verde 2050 program carries out ecological restoration of degraded areas of grain mines and abandoned garbage dumps, using native and endemic species on the Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz islands.

Our Research Team

Patricia Jaramillo Díaz

Principal Investigator

Patricia is an Ecuadorian researcher who came to Galapagos in 1996 to work on her PhD thesis about the “human impact on native, endemic and introduced flora on the Galapagos Islands” and since...

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Anna Calle


Anna has always been fascinated by the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon rainforest. Her desire to protect these unique ecosystems motivated her to pursue a Bachelor of Science in...

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David Cevallos


David holds a Bachelor degree in agricultural engineering from the Army Polytechnic School (ESPE) in Ecuador, a master in environmental science from the university of Debrecen in Hungary in and a...

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Nicolas Velasco


Nicolás has a great curiosity for plant species, their reproduction, ecology and how these disperse. Coming from Chile, started his career as an Agronomist studying the reproduction of fruiting...

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Pavel Enríquez-Moncayo

Project Assistant

Pavel has always admired the people behind the great scientific discoveries both in his home, the Galapagos, as well as worldwide. Further, growing up in the "Enchanted Islands" allowed him to...

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Paúl Mayorga

Project Assistant

I was born and raised in these "Enchanted Islands", which meant from a young age I was naturally immersed in the conservation of the place where I live. Growing up with relatively little technology...

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Danyer Zambrano

Field Assistant

Danyer arrived to Floreana Island when he was only two years old. As he grew up on the island, he always enjoyed the idea of living in a green environment full of natural life, as well as learning...

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Project Details

What does the Galapagos Green program do in ecological restoration projects in special use sites?

Population growth in Galapagos has resulted in a greater number of basic needs that must be provided to the population, such as education, food, health and waste management. To meet this demand, the DPNG establishes Sites for Special Public Use, which house facilities and services for the benefit of the public, such as stone material extraction areas and garbage dumps. These sites present extensive degradation both in the place itself and in its surroundings. Therefore, GV2050 has selected the Special Public Use Sites as study sites to carry out ecological restoration efforts. Three of these sites, the Floreana Black Granillo (gravel) Mine and the Floreana and Baltra garbage dumps, have been intervened for more than 8 years, obtaining successful results. Therefore, this project will focus on investigating the restoration process carried out so far and continuing the restoration of the most affected sites through the propagation of native and endemic plants using water-saving technologies.

gv2050 especial figura1ab 707x469

Old Garbage Dump on Baltra Island.

What tools does the Galapagos Verde 2050 program use for the ecological restoration of threatened species?

One of the important limitations in the Galapagos Islands is the availability of fresh water, which is why it is necessary to optimize its use using water-saving technologies. The GV2050 program uses the following water saving technologies: Groasis Waterboxx®, Cocoon, Growboxx® and Hydrogel.

Groasis Waterboxx®. It is a technology that collects rainwater, storing it to provide it through a constant supply of water to the plant, allowing it to develop better.
Information on the use of this technology

Cocoon biodegradable boxes. With functions similar to Groasis Waterboxx, but made of biodegradable material that does not need to be removed at the end of use.

The video shows how Cocoon technology is used in other ecological restoration projects

Growboxx®. Made of biodegradable material, it has a hole in the center where the plant is sown and four holes in the lid where seeds can be germinated hydroponically.
More information on how this technology is used

Hydrogel. They are gels of polymeric materials that allow the retention of water in the soil to benefit the vegetation present on the site.

The benefits of hydrogel as a water saving technology 


gv2050 especial figura2b

Water saving technologies used in the GV2050 program. a) Groasis Waterboxx®, b) Cocoon, c) Groasis Growboxx®, d) Hydrogel powder

What phases is the project timeline divided into?

gv2050 especial figura3General map of the Galapagos Islands detailing the Special Use sites on the Baltra, Floreana,San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz islands;
and the growth of the sowings that have been carried out since the beginning of the GV2050 program.

Phase 1: It began in July 2014 and was successfully completed in July 2017. Restoration activities began at Floreana at the black grit mine and old dump, and at Baltra at the old dump.
Phase 2: It began in August 2017 and will run until July 2027. The Cerro Colorado grit mine on San Cristóbal Island is added to this second phase of the Project. The Growboxx technology is also included in this second phase.
Phase 3: The last and most extensive phase of the program will initiate ecological restoration programs at the Isabela and Santa Cruz grit mine.


The main objective of the project is to recover the degraded spaces of abandoned mines and garbage dumps with native and endemic plants of importance to the Galapagos ecosystem.

The specific objectives of our project are:

  • To compare the biological diversity (diversity of plants and insects) present in restored sites with respect to what occurs in the communities that regenerate naturally in the Floreana "Granillo Negro" (grit) mine and the Floreana and Baltra garbage dumps.
  • Evaluate the biological and ecological effect on the ecosystem resulting from the ecological restoration actions in the successional state of the plant communities in the Floreana "Granillo Negro" (grit) mine and the Floreana and Baltra garbage dumps.
  • Analyze the recovery and ecological integrity of restored sites based on the success of planted native and endemic seedlings.
  • Integrate Mirador Cerro Colorado de San Cristóbal into the ecological restoration projects at the grit mine.

Our results

What results has the Galapagos Verde 2050 program achieved in ecological restoration in special use sites?

Floreana Island: The "Granillo Negro'" mine a dry forest that was completely altered, in just 3 years it was possible to restore 100% of its historical diversity of endemic species. Which makes it an example of a successful model of ecological restoration.

gv2050 especial figura4 707x261

Images taken in August 2014 and August 2017 at "Granillo Negro" mine (Floreana). Photos by Patricia Jaramillo.

Baltra Island: A protocol for the restoration of ecosystems in arid islands has been designed, using Baltra as an example, where we have planted more than 4000 plants of 12 different species. Currently, the project is developed in three hectares, it has created a corridor and an ecological garden in agreement with the ECOGAL Ecological Airport.
San Cristóbal: We are working on the ecological restoration of the granillo mine located at the Cerro Colorado viewpoint with endemic species, unique to this island, such as Calandrinia galapagosa and Lecocarpus darwini. They are also working with other native species such as Cordia lutea. So far we have obtained successful results in the ecological restoration of the site.

 Would you like to know about the results obtained by the Galapagos Verde 2050 program in 2021?

Watch the following video:



Would you like to know what awards the Green Galapagos 2050 initiative has won?

A) Green Latin America Awards

The GV2050 initiative was a finalist in the fifth edition (2018) of the Latin America Green Award and obtained THIRD PLACE in the “Water” category among 2,733 projects. Additionally, Galapagos Verde 2050 was awarded the Directv PROTAGONISTAS award "for having been one of the most outstanding stories, for the clarity of its purpose, its impact, its legacy and its ability to inspire positive change for the region and for the planet”.
More information about Galapagos Verde - Summary Prizes

Read more about the success and Green Latin America Awards for the GV2050 (Blog):

Galapagos Project Finalist of the Green Latinamerican Awards 2018

B) DirecTV protagonist Awards and inspiring stories

Watch video (we can cut the section GV2050) (Spanish) 
Watch inspiring women video (Spanish) 
Inspirational stories in Galapagos, Mexico, Chile (Spanish) 


Keywords: Special Use Sites, water saving, ecological restoration, water scarcity, threatened species, Groasis Waterboxx®, Hydrogel, Cocoon, granule mines, garbage dumps.

Bibliographical References

Directorate of the Galapagos National Park. (2014). Plan de Manejo de las Áreas Protegidas  de Galápagos para el Buen Vivir. Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador.

Jaramillo, P., Tapia, W., Negoita, L., Plunkett, E., Guerrero, M., Mayorga, P., & Gibbs, J. P. (2020). El Proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050 (Volumen 1).

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