Restoring Los Gemelos

los gemelos sam.jpgLos Gemelos, Santa Cruz (© Sam Rowley, Charles Darwin Foundation)

Native plants in Galapagos have been seriously affected by human expansion and invasive species, particularly on the inhabited islands. The Scalesia forest on Santa Cruz, dominated by the giant daisy-tree Scalesia pedunculata is proof of this decline, with an estimated coverage of less than 1% of its original distribution. The best example of Scalesia pedunculata is at Los Gemelos, where 100 hectares of remaining Scalesia is the focus of restoration efforts by the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD). The once flourishing species-rich forest is at serious risk of the highly invasive blackberry (Rubus niveus). In spite of considerable efforts by the GNPD to control blackberry and reforest Los Gemelos with nursery grown Scalesia saplings, blackberry has not been successfully contained and there is currently no knowledge of the impacts of control measures on non-target species.

Ecological Restoration at Los Gemelos

CDF scientists are working alongside the GNPD and local and international collaborators to investigate the effects of blackberry management on plants and animal species. The results of this study will provide science-based advice on best practice control techniques for blackberry. In addition, CDF investigators will deliver valuable information on the efficiency of restoration efforts and the dynamics of Los Gemelos’ unique ecosystem. The ultimate goal of this project is to support the GNPD in their efforts to reduce control impacts on non-target species and to restore as much of the Scalesia forest at Los Gemelos as possible.

 

Heinke in los gemelos.jpg

Collaborators: Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD), Galapagos Biosecurity Agency, Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura y Pesca, Fondo para el Control de Especies Invasoras de Galápagos, CABI, University of Vienna

Funders: Galapagos Conservancy, Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, and Fondo para el Control de Especies Invasoras de Galápagos (FEIG). The GNPD provide in-kind funding support through project staffing.