Ecological restoration of Española Island of Opuntia megasperma

Ecological restoration of Española Island of Opuntia megasperma

Ecological restoration of Española Island through adaptive management for the recovery of Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis on Española Island PC-13-22

This project is currently Active

Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis is a cactus species endemic to the island of Española. This keystone species serves as a food source for giant tortoises, nesting and feeding structures for birds, and refuge for many other endemic and native species that inhabit the island. Unfortunately, the O. megasperma population was drastically reduced by feral goats, which were introduced to Española two centuries ago. Although the goats were eradicated in 1978, O. megasperma has not been able to recover due to their slow growth (approx. 2 cm per year), natural herbivory by endemic fauna, and the arid climatic conditions of the island. Therefore, this project seeks to contribute to the restoration of the ecological integrity of Española Island through the recovery of the Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis population using innovative and effective restoration strategies.

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

Project Assistant

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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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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Jhon Hamilton Chango

Field Assistant

Jhon was born on Floreana, the first island colonized by people in the Galapagos Archipelago and, paradoxically, the one with the smallest population. This particularity allowed nature to be an...

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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

Figura 18 gv2050 en

Figure 18. Map of the population distribution of Opuntia megasperma var. orientalis on the island of Española.

Research questions

These are some of the relevant questions we have of this project: 1) How do we measure the success of the restoration actions of the intervened sites on Española? 2) What is the most cost-effective method (water-saving technology) to restore Española through replantation with Opuntia megasperma.

 

Ecological restoration on Española island

 

Our results

As part of the results of this project, we expect to answer the following questions: 1) How do we measure the success of the restoration actions of the intervened sites on Española? 2) What is the most cost-effective method (water-saving technology) to restore Española through replantation with Opuntia megasperma.

Keywords: Española, adaptive management, Opuntia megasperma, water saving, ecological restoration, water scarcity, threatened species

Bibliographical References

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

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