Galápagos Verde 2050

Galápagos Verde 2050

This project is currently Active

“Galápagos Verde 2050” is a long-term project implemented by the Charles Darwin Foundation with the Galapagos National Park Directorate’s support. Overall, this project contributes to conserve Galapagos’ natural capital and the well-being of its human population.

One of the greatest problems in the Galapagos Archipelago is the scarcity of water, therefore the project’s focus is to implement initiatives that promote saving this limited resource. Thus, we use three water-saving technologies to achieve the project’s two principle goals: the ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, and the development of sustainable agricultural practices.

Our ultimate outcome will be to present the Galapagos islands as a model system for ecosystem conservation and human sustainability.

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 later...

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Luka Negoita

Investigator

I have always loved islands and plants. Since my undergraduate work on islands in the Gulf of Maine, USA, I have had a strong passion for studying the unique characteristics of island ecosystems and...

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Felipe Cornejo

Investigator

I trained as an Agricultural Engineer at the Army Polytechnic School in Quito, Ecuador. I had the opportunity to work in different countries around the world, in different conditions. However,...

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María Guerrero

Project Assistant

Since I began my studies in Biology, I have always been interested in the conservation of plant species, because they form the basis of ecosystems. I became aware of this project thanks to the...

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Esme Plunkett

Project Assistant

After finishing my BSc in Biological Sciences at Durham University in England, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in ecology and conservation and the volunteer programme for the Galapagos Verde 2050...

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Paúl Mayorga

Field 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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Project Details

Galacute;pagos Verde 2050 Infographic
Galapagos Verde 2050 infographic, by: Luka Negoita, CDF.
Multi-institutional team working on cleanups in Baltra Island.
Multi-institutional team working on cleanups in Baltra Island. Photo by Patricia Jaramillo.

The Galápagos Verde 2050 project is divided in the following components:

Ecological Restoration

Planting baby cactus with Groasis technology. South Plaza Island.
Planting baby cactus with Groasis technology. South Plaza Island. Photo by Liza Diaz Lalova.

This component includes 37 study sites, distributed among several islands: Española, Floreana, Northern Isabela, South Plaza, Baltra, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz. This component’s goal is to restore and conserve ecosystems so that they can recover and maintain their capacity to generate services. Part of this goal is to recover populations of endangered endemic species.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

This component attempts to understand how technologies can be used to help improve productivity on Santa Cruz and Floreana farms while conserving water use. This research includes 36 study sites on Floreana and Santa Cruz.

9 month seedlings of Opuntia echios echios, growing in CDF laboratory.
9-month seedlings of Opuntia echios echios, growing in CDF laboratory. Photo by Patricia Jaramillo.

Phases of the project

Phases of the GV2050 project.

The Galápagos Verde 2050 project is divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Started in 2014 and ended in November 2017. Work was carried out on Santa Cruz, Baltra, Plaza Sur and Floreana Islands.
  • Phase 2: The project is currently in this phase, which began in December 2017 and will continue until 2027. Here the project will include work on Santa Cruz, Baltra, San Cristobal, South Plaza, Floreana, Isabela and Española Islands.
  • Phase 3: This last phase of the project will run from 2027 to 2050. Here the project will include work on Santa Cruz, Baltra, South Plaza, Floreana, Isabela, Española, San Cristóbal and Santiago Islands.

The water-saving technologies used by the project are a potential solution for water scarcity in the Galápagos archipelago.

Water-saving technologies used in Phase 1 and 2
Water-saving technologies used in Phase 1 and 2. Photos by Patricia Jaramillo and Micaela Solís.

All the recorded data is available to the public through our virtual platform and Android application.

Our main goal is to contribute to the conservation of the Galapagos terrestrial ecosystems and to the well-being of the local population, through the ecological restoration of degraded areas and the development of sustainable agricultural practices.

The specific objectives of our project are:

  • Contribute to the restoration of degraded ecosystems with the goal of recovering and/or maintaining their ability of generating services for the population.
  • Contribute to the restoration of endangered plant species populations.
  • Contribute to the control and/or eradication of invasive species in high ecological value areas, both in natural and rural areas.
  • Apply water-saving technologies to accelerate the recovery process of native and endemic flora of the archipelago with slow natural growth.
  • Reduce the risk of ingression of exotic species through sustainable agriculture production by contributing to the local sourcing.
  • Execute experiments to test seed viability and germination for key species for several ecosystems on the islands.

Our results

Summary of the execution of the GV2050 project.
Summary of the execution of the GV2050 project from 2014 to 2018 (Phase 1 and start of phase 2).

Ecological restoration

Floreana Island: In just 3 years, a dry forest that was completely altered has been 100% restored to its historic diversity of endemic species (Gravel Mine). This is an example of a successful ecological restoration model.

Mina de Granillo Negro, Floreana.
Images taken in August 2014 (left) and August 2017 (right) in Mina de Granillo Negro (Floreana Island). Photo by Patricia Jaramillo.

Baltra Island: A protocol has been designed for the restoration of ecosystems on arid islands such as Baltra where we have planted more than 4000 plants of 12 different species. Currently, the project is based across 3 Ha in three main study sites. The project has also created an ecological corridor and ecological garden under an agreement with the Ecological Airport ECOGAL.

Density of key species in three study sites for ecological restoration in Baltra Island.
Density of key species in three study sites for ecological restoration in Baltra Island during phase 1 (2014-2017) and beginning of phase 2. Map: Elizabeth Monaghan.
Corridor and ecological garden implemented in Baltra airport.
Corridor and ecological garden implemented in Baltra airport, during phase 1 (2014-2017). Map: Byron Delgado.

South Plaza Island: Through our planting efforts, the population of Opuntia echios var. echios has tripled in just 3 years. As a keystone ecosystem engineer, O. echios is the main food source for terrestrial iguanas but it had decreased by 85% over the last century.

Opuntia echios echios growing thanks to one of the water-saving technologies after 4 years in South Plaza Island.
Opuntia echios echios growing thanks to one of the water-saving technologies after 4 years in South Plaza Island. Photo by the GV2050 Team.

Santa Cruz Island: Scalesia affinis is another species that had substantially declined over the last century, but current planting efforts have increased the population of Scalesia affinis by 35%. In addition to this, we have worked with several institutions on ecological gardens. We also published a book created for promoting the planting of native and endemic plants in the gardens of the four populated islands.

Trilingual book  Siémbrame en tu Jardín.
Trilingual book (Spanish, English and Quechua) "Siémbrame en tu Jardín" to encourage the use of endemic and native plants in the Galapagos Archipelago. Photo by CDF.

Isabela Island: The population of Galvezia leucantha var. leucantha has increased by 80%, and the production of seedlings will quintuple its population by next year.

Geographic location of the last remnant of Galvezia leucantha, north of Isabela Island.
Geographic location of the last remnant of Galvezia leucantha, north of Isabela Island. Map: Byron Delgado.

Española Island: A method for asexual reproduction of Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis was developed and ex situ germination trials using seeds from tortoise excrements is being 2017 tested.

Opuntia megasperma seedlings from turtle excrement.
Opuntia megasperma seedlings from turtle excrement. Photo by Micaela Solís.

Sustainable agricultural practices

We are developing experiments in six farms on Santa Cruz (3) and Floreana (3) Islands. The study sites include both open-field and greenhouses, with the following objectives: to evaluate the effectiveness of water-saving technologies, both in short-cycle crops and in perennial crops, and to analyze the cost/benefit of the use of the Groasis Technology in agriculture. We evaluated crops of high economic importance including broccoli, tomato, pepper, watermelon and melon. Tomato and pepper are especially important due to their high demand, and would substantially benefit from perennial production.

Broccoli crops using hydrogel in farms, Santa Cruz Island.
Broccoli crops using hydrogel in farms, Santa Cruz Island. Photo by Joshua Vela.

Education and Outreach

In addition to scientific research, the Galápagos Verde 2050 project is connected with the local community through various activities. Examples include tools such as our publication of the first trilingual book that encourages the creation of ecological gardens using endemic and native plants of Galápagos (Siémbrame en tu Jardín – Sow me in your Garden). In addition, we have organized workshops, conferences and various outreach activities locally, nationally and internationally.

Interpretive area of the GV2050 project.
Interpretive area of the GV2050 project. It opens every day for students, tourists and institutions that visit our Research Station. Photo by the GV2050 Team.

Latin-American Verde Awards

Finalistas en los Premios Latinoamérica VerdeWe are pleased to share that this project was a finalist in the fifth edition (2018) of the prestigious Latin-American Verde Awards. On 2018 year it had 2733 projects registered from 38 countries, notably: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Chile, with 713 cities throughout these regions. In this important event, the Galápagos Verde 2050 project was among the 31 finalist projects within which it obtained THIRD PLACE in the "Water" category. Additionally, the project was awarded the Direct TV PROTAGONISTS prize "for having been one of the most outstanding stories, for the clarity of its purpose, its impact, its legacy and its ability to inspire a positive change for the region and for the planet". Read more.

Keywords: Galapagos, water saving, ecological restoration, water scarcity, threatened species, sustainable agricultural practices, Groasis, Hidrogel, Cocoon

Bibliographical References

  • Atkinson, R., Guézou, A. & Jaramillo, P. (2017). Siémbrame en tu Jardín - Kanpa sisapampapi tarpuway - Plant me in your Garden. Jardines nativos para la conservacion de Galapagos - Galapagos suyu kuskata kamankapak sisapampakuna - native gardens for the conservation of Galapagos. Segunda edición. Islas Galápagos-Ecuador, Fundación Charles Darwin.
  • Elisens, W.J. (1992). Genetic divergence in Galvezia (Scrophulariaceae): Evolutionary and biogeographic relationships among South American and Galapagos species. American Journal of Botany 79 (2):198-206.
  • Guzmán, B., Heleno, R., Nogales, M., Simbaña, W., Traveset, A. & Vargas, P. (2016). Evolutionary history of the endangered shrub snapdragon (Galvezia leucantha) of the Galapagos Islands. Diversity and Distributions:1-14.
  • Jaramillo, P. (2015). Final report on Year 1 from the Charles Darwin Foundation to COmON Foundation. Galápagos Verde 2050 Project
  • Jaramillo, P. (2015). Water-saving technology: the key to sustainable agriculture and horticulture in Galapagos to BESS Forest Club. 
  • Jaramillo, P., Jiménez, E., Cueva, P. & Ortiz, J. (2013). Baltra: un reto para la restauración ecológica de ecosistemas áridos. Jornadas Ecuatorianas de Biología. Universidad de Santa Elena.
  • Jaramillo, P. & Menendez, Y. (2017). Galápagos Verde 2050: Manejo de plataforma virtual, web y aplicación Android. Simposio Internacional del Proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050. Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz. Fundación Charles Darwin, pp 1-26.
  • Jaramillo, P., Ortiz, J., Jiménez, E. & Cueva, P. (2013). Restauración Ecológica: ¿Puede la implementación de nuevas tecnologías ayudar a la recuperación de las zonas húmedas de Galápagos?. Jornadas Ecuatorianas de Biología. Universidad de Santa Elena. 
  • Jaramillo, P. & Romero, L. (2017). Restauración ecológica de especies amenazadas en islas remotas. Resultados Fase 1 y siguientes pasos. Simposio Internacional del proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050. Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, 2017. Fundación Charles Darwin, pp 1-26.
  • Jaramillo, P. & Solís, M. (2017). Prácticas agrícolas y análisis costo-beneficio en Galápagos. Proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050. Simposio Internacional del Proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050. Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz. Fundación Charles Darwin, pp 1-26.
  • Jaramillo, P., Tapia, W. & Gibbs, J. (2017). Action Plan for the Ecological Restoration of Baltra and Plaza Sur Islands. 2:1-29
  • Jaramillo, P., Tapia, W., Romero, M.L. & Gibbs, J. (2017). Galápagos Verde 2050: Restauración ecológica de ecosistemas degradados y agricultura sostenible utilizando tecnologías ahorradoras de agua. Fundación Charles Darwin. Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz.
  • León-Yánez, S., Valencia, R., Pitman, N., Endara, L., Ulloa, C. & Navarrete, H. (2011). Libro rojo de las plantas endémicas del Ecuador. 2 da. Edición. Herbario QCA. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito
  • McMullen, C.K. (1999). Flowering plants of the Galapagos. Cornell University Press. Ithaca
  • Ortiz, J., Jaramillo, P., Jiménez, E. & Cueva, P. (2013). Agricultores y Tecnología: una alianza estratégica para la producción agrícola sostenible en la zona rural de Galápagos. In: Jornadas Ecuatorianas de Biología, Universidad de Santa Elena. 
  • Sulloway, F.J. & Noonan, K.M. (2015). Opuntia Cactus Loss in the Galapagos Islands, 1957-2014. Pérdida de cactus Opuntia en las Islas Galápagos, 1957-2014. 
  • Tapia, W., Flanagan, J., Campbell & K., Jaramillo, P. (2014). Safeguarding the South Plaza Galapagos Land Iguana during Rodent Eradication using Brodifacoum. Paper presented at the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group Meeting 2014: Galápagos Land and Marine Iguanas Workshop.
  • Tapia, W., Troya, A., Mora, M., Campbell, K., Jaramillo, P. & Quezada, G. (2013). Cactus e iguanas terrestres en Plaza Sur una cuestión de supervivencia. In: Jornadas Ecuatorianas de Biología, Universidad de Santa Elena. 
  • Tye, A. & Jager, H. (2000) Galvezia leucantha subsp porphyrantha (Scrophulariaceae) ; a new Shrub Snapdragon endemic to Santiago Island ; Galápagos ; Ecuador. Novon 10 (2):164-168
  • Vargas, P., Roselló, J.A., Oyama, R. & Güemes, J. (2004). Molecular evidence for naturalness of genera in the tribe Antirrhineae (Scrophulariaceae) and three independent evolutionary lineages from the New World and the Old. Plant Systematics and Evolution 249:151-172
  • Wiggins, I.L. & Porter, D.M. (1971). Flora of the Galápagos Islands. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.

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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