Humankind and Nature


Supporting Charles Darwin Foundation’s Work to Save the Scalesia Forest in the Galápagos

Scalesia forest houses incredible biodiversity

A few months ago, AWF partnered with the CDF to fund their work in the unique and very species-rich Scalesia Forest endemic to the Galápagos Islands.

The Charles Darwin Foundation has developed effective and sustainable methods to control the invasive Rubus Niveus that is endangering Scalesia. AWF funded an initiative to restore this precious habitat, a complex web of trees, shrubs, birds, insects, and countless other beings that make up a wonderland of biodiversity. The initiative will allow for the regeneration of Scalesia Pedunculata at larger scales along with restoring controlled areas with nursery-grown Scalesia.

Bird life of Scalesia forest

The amount that our community donated for this project will have a significant impact in restoring this forest, but we must not rest on these merits and the CDF has pleaded its case by stating five very objective reasons why.

Scientists from various fields work every day at CDF to protect the Scalesia forest

1. The invasive Blackberry continues to be dominant in the area, covering about 55% of the entire vegetation.
2. In the area that is already mostly blackberry-free because of restoration work, approximately 6% is still covered by Blackberry. Again, this shows how difficult it is to eliminate Blackberry.
3. In the invaded areas, Blackberry prevents the germination of Scalesia seeds and, therefore, the natural regeneration of the forest. However, in the blackberry-freed areas, a new generation of Scalesia trees is now at least 7m tall!

Part of CDF's work in Scalesia involves surveying the insect population

4. The number of flies and mosquitos has dramatically increased in the blackberry-freed area compared to the area invaded by Blackberry (72% vs. 28%). Flies and mosquitos are an essential food source for Darwin's finches, especially during the breeding season when they need to feed their chicks. Therefore, having more flies and mosquitos due to blackberry removal benefits Scalesia (because they act as pollinators) and the finches that live there.

Flies and mosquitos, who act as pollinators benefit Scalesia and Darwin's finches

5. Drone flights allowed us to determine that there are presently about 300 ha on Santa Cruz covered with Scalesia Pedunculata. Confronting the data from 2011 with that from 2021, it seems Scalesia has been reduced by 38%. However, the 2021 data also show that Scalesia Pedunculata now grows in an area of about 6,8 ha, where it was either planted or has regenerated naturally after blackberry control.

Assessing the health of the invertebrate population allows the scientists at CDF to evaluate the impact of blackberry control

Despite the good news, this report from the CDF shows how crucial it is to maintain funding for these efforts, which, incredible as they are, take time and labor to produce lasting and robust results.

Support the Charles Darwin Foundation and their conservation efforts.


Charles Darwin Foundation

Charles Darwin Foundation Official Website

You can make the Scalesia forest thrive again

Heinke Jäger, Chief Scientist at the Charles Darwin Foundation, talks about the importance of partnering with Azimuth World Foundation to save this unique habitat in the Galápagos and explains how each gift will contribute to this project. The Charle

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