Rural ecological restoration: On the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Floreana

Rural ecological restoration: On the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Floreana

Rural restoration: development of rural ecological restoration processes through the establishment of agroecosystems on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Floreana PC-14-22

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The Galapagos Verde 2050 program carries out ecological restoration of rural areas through the planting of endemic and native species (using tools for ecological restoration) together with species of agricultural interest in order to recover the space occupied by invasive species, attract pollinators and establish agroforestry systems.

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 activities does the Galapagos Verde 2050 program carry out to carry out ecological restoration in rural areas of the inhabited islands of the archipelago?

The humid highlands of Galapagos are the most productive regions of the islands, resulting in a high development of agricultural activities. Agricultural expansion not only eliminates endemic and native flora through deforestation, it also makes these lands more vulnerable to the establishment of invasive species. However, proper management of agroecosystems can make agriculture an ally for the conservation of the islands. Silvopastoral agroecosystems (shade in paddocks), polycultures, and coffee under shade of Scalesia pedunculata can generate services such as biological nitrogen fixation through mycorrhizal consortia that allow the improvement of the soil microbiota, carbon sequestration that helps counteract effects of the use of fossil fuels, attraction of pollinators that help with the fertilization process of endemic plant seeds and their subsequent dispersal; allowing the attenuation of phytopathological problems by promoting the establishment of healthy ecological niches, which allows the generation of new protection zones for threatened species. Therefore, this project will be based on the restoration of degraded ecosystems in rural areas for agricultural use, through the recovery of endemic and native plants on farms on the Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and Floreana Islands. Also promoting the role of women in agriculture, management of their farms as a source of economic income in their homes and science.

Would you like to see more about what we do in rural restoration?

Galapagos Verde 2050: Recovering endemic and native flora on rural farms

What tools does the Galapagos Verde 2050 program use for the rural ecological restoration?

One of the important limitations in the Galapagos Islands is the availability of fresh water, so it is necessary to optimize its use. The GV2050 program uses the tools widely used and proven worldwide for their effectiveness: Groasis Waterboxx®, Cocoon, Growboxx®, Hydrogel and Biochar.
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 the Groasis Waterboxx, but made of biodegradable material that does not need to be removed at the end of its use.
The video shows how Cocoon technology is used in other ecological restoration projects 

Growboxx®. Also developed by Groasis, made of biodegradable material, it has a hole in the center where the plant to be restored is planted and four holes in the lid where seeds can be germinated hydroponically.
More information on how this technology 

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 

BioChar. It is a product of biomass pyrolysis of organic waste under anaerobic conditions. It is an adjuvant for water retention in the soil, composting accelerator and source of nutrients.
The information about BioChar 

gv2050 rural 01
Water saving technologies used in the GV2050 program. a) Groasis Waterboxx®, b) Cocoon, c) Groasis Growboxx®, d) Hydrogel powder, e) BioChar sample

In what phases is the project timeline divided?

 gv2050 rural figura2

General map of the farms where the rural restoration projects are developed on the Floreana, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz islands, within the GV2050 program.

Phase 1: It began in July 2014 and successfully completed in July 2017. Rural restoration and sustainable agriculture activities started on Floreana Island.

Phase 2: It began in August 2017 and will run until July 2027. In this second phase of the project, new farms were added, eight in Santa Cruz, three in San Cristóbal and an additional one in Floreana. In December 2021, the sustainable agriculture component will end.
Phase 3: The last and most extensive phase of the program will start ecological restoration programs in new farms to be defined. It will begin in August 2027 and will end in December 2050. We have established a rural ecological restoration model as a guide for future agricultural projects.

The main objective of the project is to contribute to the conservation of the terrestrial ecosystems of the populated islands of the Galapagos Archipelago, to the well-being of its population, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems in rural areas for agricultural use, through the recovery of native and endemic plants to the Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and Floreana Islands.

The specific objectives of our project are:

  • Restore degraded ecosystems on agricultural farms adjacent to the Galapagos National Park area using native and endemic species and water-saving technologies on the Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Floreana Islands.
  • Promote the generation of ecosystem services on farms in rural areas for agricultural use in Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Floreana.
  • Determine the role of mycorrhizae in the establishment, improvement of the soil microbiota, restoration, and conservation of the terrestrial ecosystems of Galapagos.
  • Develop campaigns that promote the integration of women in rural ecological restoration actions in Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, and Floreana.

Our results

What results did we get from rural restoration on the different inhabited islands?

At the study sites on Santa Cruz (8) and Floreana (2) islands we monitored a total of 891 native and endemic plants. The results of the monitoring process show a survival rate of 64.76%, with a growth rate of 0.28%, which indicates that the designed agroforestry systems are being established satisfactorily. We have observed that the survival rate of plants on Santa Cruz Island is 75.79% while on Floreana it is 55.26%.
We are working on the carbon fixation component of Scalesia pedunculata in agroforestry systems on productive agricultural lands in this project, we have seen that the survival rate of Scalesia pedunculata on Santa Cruz Island (78.54%) is higher than on the Floreana Island (40.97%). Carbon fixation data is being collected for 279 plants. Once we achieve statistical robustness, we will have our preliminary results of the average carbon that our agroforestry systems are fixing.

Would you like to know more about rural restoration in Galapagos?

Se the role of women in Science

Read more about our project on rural ecological restoration (Blogs):

Galapagos Verde 2050: Recovering endemic and native flora in rural farms

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)
Watch inspiring women video
Inspirational stories in Galapagos, Mexico, Chile


Keywords: Ecological restoration, water saving, rural, endemic and native species, threatened species, Groasis Waterboxx®, Hydrogel, Cocoon, agricultural species.

Bibliographical References

Jaramillo, P. & Menéndez, 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, págs. 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, págs. 1-26.

Jaramillo, P. (2015). Informe final del Año 1 de la Fundación Charles Darwin a la Fundación COmON. Proyecto Galápagos Verde 2050.

Jaramillo, P. (2015). Tecnología de ahorro de agua: la clave para la agricultura y la horticultura sostenibles en Galápagos para BESS Forest Club.

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

Jaramillo, P., Tapia, W., Romero, ML & Gibbs, J. (2017). Galápagos Verde 2050: Restauración ecológica de ecosistemas degradados y agricultura utilizando tecnologías sostenibles 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

Mc Mullen, CK (1999). Plantas con flores de Galápagos. Prensa de la Universidad de Cornell. Ítaca

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. En: Jornadas Ecuatorianas de Biología, Universidad de Santa Elena.

Wiggins, IL y Porter, DM (1971). Flora de las Islas Galápagos. Prensa de la Universidad de Stanford, Stanford, CA.


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