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Priorities and gaps: Research and Management framework for the Galapagos

Since the establishment of the Galapagos National Park (GNP) in 1968, it has been working closely together with the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), through the latter’s operative arm, the Charles Darwin Research Station, based on Santa Cruz Island. Initially, the GNP shared the research station facilities, and the “unique symbiotic relationship” of national government and international science which exists here was established (Hoeck 2000). marine turtle

The role of the CDF is to provide research and technical support, with the stated mission of providing “the knowledge and support to ensure the conservation of the environment and bio-diversity of the archipelago of Galapagos, through scientific research and complementary actions." The GNP undertakes the management of the national park (terrestrial and marine), with the objective: “to protect and preserve the ecosystems of the archipelago and their biological diversity for the benefit of humanity, local community, science and the education.” By this means, the GNP guarantees the ecological evolutionary processes, and also fosters the sustainable development of human activities in the archipelago.

It is increasingly difficult to separate the two roles, that of technical support and that of management, as every management action is used as a research tool to determine the effect of the activities themselves, and their resulting impact on the ecosystems. The GNP is actively involved in research, just as the CDF is actively involved in management. The boundaries have been blurred. While this is generally a positive thing it carries the risk of duplication of effort and the creation of gaps.

The experimental framework.

In 2003 members of the GNP and CDF met to discuss the definition of the specific roles of the two organisations as a prelude to drafting the new Galapagos National Park management plan, and the bi-institutional strategic plan. In a series of small workshops, a framework was elaborated which describes the chain of activities which are followed in achieving the overall goal of the work of the GNP and the CDF, the ecological and economic sustainability of Galapagos. This framework is known as the “experimental framework”, not because it is an experiment, but because it describes how science is being used for the conservation and sustainable future of Galapagos.

The complete framework (available in pdf) defines five essential steps towards achieving the overall goal:

  1. Establish the base line, ecological and sociological;
  2. Via a monitoring system, detect changes in the baseline, and determine their cause, natural or anthropological;
  3. Using a prioritisation system, make a decision. This can be to predict and prevent further changes, to mitigate the changes or to restore the previous state;
  4. Implement the decision taken, monitoring to detect the subsequent changes brought about by the management activities;
  5. Communicate the results to the local, national and international community.
In the framework the activities given in blue are those of research and support, and principally carried out by the CDF with the support of the GNP. Those given in green are those of management and principally carried out by the GNP, with the support of the CDF.

The research programme and identification of gaps.

joint GNPS and CDF logo Using the experimental framework as a basis, the CDF drew up a matrix of research activities currently identified as priority, distinguishing those with funding and those with partial or no funding. The aim of this matrix is to identify areas of common interest between the GNPS and the CDF, identify future projects, and to coordinate the activities in progress.

The Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park continue their productive partnership into the future under their joint logo “Partners in Conservation”.

Source: Charles Darwin Foundation.

 

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Literature cited.

Hoeck, H. The last 40 years. Bulletin de l’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturales de Belgique. Proceedings of the Symposium Science for Conservation in Galapagos. Vol. 70 - Supplement. Bruxelles 2000, pages 11 - 15.


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This website was created on 25 October 2004 by PT and JK