Climate change, tourism threaten species conservation in Galápagos Islands

Unesco calls the Galápagos Islands a “living museum and showcase of evolution,” but they are much more than that. The islands have become the world’s foremost conservation laboratory, which scientists and the Ecuadorean government have promoted as a model on how humanity might prevent, or even reverse, the catastrophic species depletion that has taken place relentlessly ever since Charles Darwin first pondered the finches there.

These efforts matter more than ever now, as recent research suggests that Darwin was wrong when he rejected the natural catastrophe theory of evolution. According to a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund, populations of more than 10,000 vertebrate species declined by 52 percent on average between 1970 and 2010. In South America, the rate of depletion has reached an astonishing 83 percent. This is the process that scientists have called the “sixth extinction,” comparable to the previous five great mass extinctions on Earth. But unlike the others, the current destruction is entirely anthropogenic — a result of human activity. Worst-case scenarios predict the extinction of one-fourth of Earth’s species within 20 to 30 years if the rise in temperatures continues.

In recent years, scientists have cited climate change as a grave danger to the Galápagos Islands’ ecosystem, which depends on the confluence of hot and cold ocean currents. Some studies have already found evidence that abrupt changes in sea temperatures have caused the degradation of coral reefs, and one scientist predicted that if global warming continued, Galápagos penguins might one day have to live in artificial “condos.”

But climate change is only one of the threats. In 2007, Unesco designated the Galápagos to be a World Heritage Site, in danger from tourism, immigration, poaching and overfishing, but it later removed the region from the danger list on the grounds that Ecuador had taken vigorous action to protect it — a decision that some conservationists criticized.

Read full, original article: A ‘Showcase of Evolution’ at Risk

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend