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A Natural World Heritage Site

This paper intends to introduce the Galapagos Islands, an ecological property on the listing of World Heritage Sites in Threat by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Company. Galapagos Islands have distinct communities with various native and endemic species of wildlife. The Charles Darwin Structure (CDF) was established to resolve safety and preservation considerations of Galapagos Islands. CDF teamed up with the nationwide and metropolis governments, Galapagos National Park Solutions, other companies, volunteers, and native citizens to move forward its required.

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Although there have been indications of improvement on the efforts made, Galapagos Islands still cope with the same challenges that threaten its biodiversity: intrusive species, rising however reckless regional population, illegal fishing, world demands for tourist and marine assets, and contrasting pursuits of assorted stakeholders. Doubling the present efforts, stewardship by all stakeholders and a gentle national leadership will speed up the process. Galapagos Islands: A Natural World Heritage Site

Intro and Background This paper intends to introduce the Galapagos Islands, an eco-friendly residence on the listing of World Heritage in Danger by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Company (UNESCO).

Specifically, the paper will describe the diversity of types, the communities, man made risks, current protection and preservation measures, particular efforts, and the attainable impact of ignoring the said World Heritage web site.

Galapagos Conservation Trust (2001) offers the next historic accounts leading to Galapagos’ inscription as a World Heritage Site in Danger: (1) 1959 – Ecuador declared 97% of the land area of Galapagos as a National Park, (2) 1978 – UNESCO inscribed the Galapagos Islands as the first site on the listing of World Heritage Sites, (3) 1986 – Ecuador established the Galapagos Marine Resources Reserve to guard the waters across the archipelago, (4) 1998 – the Special Law for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Galapagos Province created the Galapagos Marine Reserve, and (5) 2001 – UNESCO expanded the heritage web site to incorporate the Marine Reserve.

In 2007, UNESCO inscribed the Galapagos Islands on the list of World Heritage in Danger (2008). Description Location

The Galapagos Islands, about 1,000 kilometers off the Pacific coast of Ecuador, comprise 14 major islands and greater than one hundred twenty smaller islets and rocks, covering a complete land space of about 8,000 sq. kilometers (Charles Darwin Foundation [CDF], 2008). The volcanic and seismic activities that shaped the islands “led to the growth of unusual animal life – such because the land iguana, the enormous tortoise and the various kinds of finch – that inspired Charles Darwin’s concept of evolution by pure selection following his visit in 1835” (UNESCO, 2008). Galapagos lies within the Pacific Ocean, the place the convergence of three ocean currents supplies a ‘melting pot’ for various marine species. The Galapagos Marine Reserve surrounding the archipelago covers an area of 138,000 sq. km. (CDF, 2008). Land and Marine Ecosystems

Galapagos has a combination of land and marine ecosystems, with distinct habitats and communities (CDF, 2008). Every native and endemic species has efficiently adapted and occupied a singular niche in each ecosystem with little rivalry for food and space; nonetheless, the introduction of latest species has disrupted the ecosystems (CDF, 2008). The land ecosystem has four vegetation zones that determine habitats, to wit, littoral, dry, transition, and humid (CDF, 2008). The littoral zone refers back to the coastal fringe of the islands, which shelter 4 mangrove tree species. The dry zone is a home to many cacti. The transition zone includes quite lots of small timber or shrubs like guayabillo and tomato.

The humid zone has trees, shrubs, ferns, orchids, and mosses (CDF, 2008). There are 560 native species of flora one hundred eighty, of that are endemic (CDF, 2008). The reptiles and amphibians include probably the most notable endemic species—the large tortoise, sea-going iguana, ashen-colored marine iguana, lava lizard, geckos (CDF, 2008). The vary of endemic birds includes the finches, penguin, cormorant, and swallow-tailed gull. In addition, there are more than 60 endemic land snails (CDF, 2008). Several species of natural world had been introduced, some of which are invasive and pose a serious risk to the ecosystems, e. g. , rat species consuming reptile eggs, birds carrying diseases (CDF, 2008).

The marine habitat has a “combination of chilly and warm oceanic currents”, a “wide range of marine landscapes”, and “highly unusual vary of organic communities, of remarkable diversity” (CDF, 2008). CDF reported more than 2,900 marine species, of which over 18% stay solely in Galapagos Islands (2008). Coastal animals of Galapagos embody “sea lions, fur seals, flightless cormorants, albatrosses, three species of booby, two frigate fowl species, sea turtles, the marine iguana, and penguins” (CDF, 2008). Healthy populations of the biggest marine animals exist, corresponding to sharks, whales, and dolphins. Smaller marine species that are on the base of the food web for bigger animals embrace marine invertebrate and plant species, such as shrimps, starfish sponges, corals, anemones, gorgonians, and conches (CDF, 2008). Human Threats in the Area

UNESCO mission confirmed the intense threats to the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve coming from the “growing encroachment of invasive species, increasing human immigration, uncontrolled development of tourism, and the failure of assorted establishments and companies to deal with these threats” (2007). The elevated human presence has hastened the introduction of plant and animal species that threaten the native and endemic wildlife (Epler, 2007, cited in Watkins & Cruz, 2007), e. g. , birds as hosts and illness carriers, black rats competing with endemic rice rat populations (CDF, 2008). The fishing increase has increased the local population by almost 200% in 2005 from 10,000 in 1990—the new residents with different beliefs and behaviors are much less involved with environmental issues (Epler, 2007).

Over-fishing or over-harvesting of pure resources, long-line fishing, and illegal business fishing for shark fins and other marine sources continue to put pressures on marine ecosystems (CDF, 2008). The growth of the tourism business had increased the number of visitors from 41,000 in 1990 to greater than a hundred,000 in 2005 (Epler, 2007)—the vacationers are attracted to quite lots of activities—diving, cruises, snorkeling, shore excursions, chook watching, sea kayaking, fishing, and surfing and, however these activities, if not regulated can cause damages to the ecosystems. The conflicts amongst various sectors with competing economic pursuits, and the dearth of response by government establishments added to the necessary thing Galapagos environmental problems. Existing Measures to Protect and Preserve the Galapagos Islands

The 1998 Special Law for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Galapagos Province provides the legal framework in fostering a participatory strategy to conservation and sustainable improvement activities (CDF, 2008). UNESCO and the World Conservation Union arrange the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) in 1959 to offer scientific research, supply technical advice to the Government, and disseminate information to make sure conservation success in Galapagos (CDF, 2008). CDF is concerned in creating a new model for conservation management in Galapagos that focuses on “long-term ecological, social, and economic sustainability”, and recognizes human beings and their activities as a part of the Galapagos ecosystem (2008).

It collaborates with the Galapagos National Park Service (the principal government authority), nationwide and local establishments, scientists, native residents, tourists, and other stakeholders in the efforts to protect and protect Galapagos. CDF (2008) carried out complicated tasks and can continue to perform its responsibilities to preserve Galapagos. The following are among its achievements: (1) a sustainable tourism mannequin for Galapagos; (2) involvement in growing the Special Law for Galapagos; (3) an herbarium with the biggest assortment of Galapagos vegetation in the world; (4) the rescue of numerous species from extinction, such because the Giant tortoises and land iguanas; (5) the world’s largest program on eradicating or removing invasive crops and animals (e. g.

, feral goats, pigs, rats) from Galapagos; (6) the rediscovery of varied “extinct” plant species; (7) the entire reference collection of invertebrates in Galapagos; (8) a group of well-trained scientists and professionals working for Galapagos; and (9) environmental education centers, providing learning materials for residents and vacationers. Meanwhile, the Galapagos National Park Services (GNPS) established the National Park guidelines, which are enforced by park wardens and guides. Apart from this, GNPS screens and controls the native flora and fauna species, controls and eradicates introduced invasive species, investigates laboratory, screens sustainable use of natural assets, and controls and oversees the national park.

Overall, while a lot remains to be accomplished to guard and preserve Galapagos, the Galapagos Conservancy claimed that the mixed efforts of organizations and people at work have resulted in essential signs of progress, to wit, among others: (1) Isabela will quickly be free from feral goats and pigs, (2) “endemic plant and animal species previously getting ready to extinction are recovering”, (3) more local residents are taking part in conserving efforts and identifying sustainable financial options for fishermen, (4) numerous canines and cats had been neutered, (5) the Australian ladybug was efficiently released, and (6) an enormous tortoise was sighted in Espanola Island. Individual Initiatives to Protect and Preserve the Galapagos Islands The safety and conservation of the surroundings is everybody’s responsibility.

As an individual, one has a lot to supply in one’s personal means, including the next initiatives: (1) educate oneself in regards to the native and endemic species in each ecosystems in Galapagos; (2) assist eradicate harmful and invasive species that had been introduced; (3) promote awareness of and assist for Galapagos Islands; (4) advance sense of non-public stewardship; (5) volunteer for seaside and reef cleanups, neighborhood networks, analysis, or information; (6) help or contribute on to the work of foundations, and organizations, in command of safeguarding and conserving the Galapagos Islands; (7) be an informed consumer—only buy marine merchandise that had been collected in an ecologically sound manner; (8) don’t collect reside or lifeless corals, and different pure sources in Galapagos Islands, when you happen to be a vacationer; (9) don’t contact nor feed the animals; (10) hold trash out of the seashores and oceans; and (11) observe the information and different instructions. Additional Measures, if any

The Galapagos Islands nonetheless face the same challenges that proceed to endanger its unique biodiversity. Invasive species stay a risk to terrestrial biodiversity. The rising native inhabitants and illegal industrial fishing resulted in over-harvesting of marine sources and air pollution. The growing demand by worldwide markets for marine resources and tourism provided pressures for a greater local access to pure assets. Much work stays to be accomplished to guard and preserve the land and marine ecosystems in Galapagos Islands. Past and current initiatives were on the best path, but efforts must be doubled to maintain up with the faster tempo of tourism development.

Moreover, the synergy amongst completely different stakeholders with conflicting pursuits to take a share of stewardship in conserving the two protected areas is a pre-condition, coupled with a stable national management. Impact of Threats on the Area If the man made intrusions in Galapagos Islands continue with out regulation and other types of interventions to stop endangering the species and their habitats, these species could additionally be irretrievably misplaced. Other marine sources in different parts of the world will as nicely be affected. Conclusions The Galapagos Islands national park and marine have unique ecosystems with numerous native and endemic species of natural world. UNESCO only in the near past inscribed it on the list of World Heritage in Danger.

Although there are signs of progress as regards efforts to guard and preserve the protected areas, Galapagos Islands proceed to face challenges that threaten its biodiversity: invasive species, rising but irresponsible native inhabitants, illegal fishing, world calls for for tourism and marine assets, and conflicting pursuits of various stakeholders. Past and current initiatives have been on the proper path, but efforts have to be doubled to keep up with the pace of tourism progress. Moreover, stewardship by all stakeholders and a secure nationwide management will pace up the process. References Charles Darwin Foundation. (2008, March 28). Galapagos Islands. Retrieved March 28, 2008, from http://www. darwinfoundation. org/en/. Galapagos Conservancy. (n. d. ). Conservation: a short overview of Galapagos, the main target of our work.

Retrieved March 28, 2008, from http://www. galapagos. org/conservation. html. Galapagos Conservation Trust. (2001, January 1). Galapagos Islands. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://www. gct. org/intro. html. Galapagos National Park Service. (n. d. ). Galapagos. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://www. galapagospark. org/png/index. php. UNESCO World Heritage. (2007, April 11). UNESCO mission confirms risk to Galapagos Islands. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://whc. unesco. org/en/news/322. UNESCO World Heritage. (2008). Galapagos Islands. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://whc. unesco. org/en/list/1/. Watkins, G. , and Cruz, F. (2007, May). Galapagos at risk: a soci

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