International Research Fellowship with the Charles Darwin Research Station: Sustainable Ecological Restoration in the Galápagos Islands
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The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, are home to ecosystems and endemic species found nowhere else in the world. Historically, human populations here have been very low, but recent increases in tourism and related urbanization have directly increased introduced species to the islands, which are the single largest threat to the unique biodiversity of the Galápagos. Endemic and native plant species, as well as the animal species that depend on them, are experiencing rapid declines throughout the islands due to the direct effects of these invasive species and island urbanization. The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galápagos Islands (CDF) is an international, non-profit scientific organization that has worked closely with the Galápagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) since 1959 to oversee the safeguarding of the islands’ natural resources. Through the CDF, Galápagos Verde 2050 was formed. This project aims to restore the islands to their native and endemic states by the year 2050 through conservation management practices and the implementation of sustainable growing technologies in both natural and agricultural settings.