Influence of Tourism on Galapagos Islands

Turismo # History. Fauna. Flora. Tortoises. Social Structure. Biosphere

  • Enviado por: Pam
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: Ecuador Ecuador
  • 7 páginas

English 12

Ms Mc Duffie

25 November 2001

The Influence of Tourism on Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are indeed unique and beautiful. Tourism allows the outside world to get

a brief glimpse of the wonders that attract naturalists, photographers and scientists from around

the world. Unfortunately, tourism may be the greatest threat to the islands and the unique plants

and animals they harbor. The sheer numbers of visitors bring enormous volumes of garbage,

waste, and pollution (Galapagos 1). A major educational campaign is required to ensure that people

understand the economic imperative of preserving as much as possible of the biodiversity of

Galapagos and indeed on improving the present situation.

There are good reasons for preserving the Islands: First, these islands and the seas around

them make a notable contribution to the diversity of the species because of their peculiar geographic

situation and evolutionary history and because, in spite of two centuries of degradation, they are still close

to being a product of natural evolution (Robert Bowman 120). The success of tourism in Galapagos has

resulted in a rapid population growth without a corresponding growth of infrastructure or alternative

economic activities compatible with the conservation of the islands, on which tourism depends. Limiting

migration to the islands is a key objective, and the Ecuadorian constitution has been amended to allow

controls to be introduced (Vazquez 3). There is such a high degree of endemism that the Galapagos have

been given the status of a separate Biogeographically Province within the Neotropic Realm. Indeed, it

would be logical to declare the archipelago and its surrounding water as one of UNESCO's world network

of Biosphere Reserves. Next, we should consider the value of the Galapagos land and sea

areas as a scientific resource (Radcliffe 20). Oceanic islands provide valuable examples of

adaptive radiation and speciation; so the fact that currently there is no other archipelago as extensive, as

isolated and as undisturbed by man makes the Galapagos of universal significance

for evolutionary research(Anderson 5).

The history and the importance of Galapagos form a union with Charles

Darwin, who arrived on the island in 1831, and who found there the living source of information

for his famous theory of "The Origin of Species" or "the theory of evolution". In 1986 Galapagos

was declared a marine reserve. This world reputation owes to many strange species of flora and

fauna, which convert the place into a living laboratory. Programs and institutions on all levels

have begun to try to slow the speed at which the islands are being devastated (Thornton 2).

In the Charles Darwin Foundation's of Santa Cruz, one of the islands Galapagos (Equator), the

unique fauna of the islands that influenced in the thought of Darwin attracts now tourist of the

entire world. The authorities are faced the problem of reconciling the immediate benefits of the

tourism with the need to conserve the fauna and flora of the islands.(Robert 5). The major tourist

attraction of the islands is in the innumerable and incredible existing biodiversity. Its immense

variety of animals has adapted and developed under difficult conditions of the environment, to

where they came thanks to marine currents and which does that the species of fauna are only in

the world. All the 14 subspecies of tortoises have evolved from a common ancestor. Nine of

them evolved separately in different islands. The remaining five belong to the Island Isabel, the

island are big, each one confined geographically to each of five major volcanoes of the island. At

present three of this subspecies have become extinct. (Beebe 18). The value of Galapagos

tourism to the national economy is estimated at $55 million (de Groot). In the last 10 years, debt-

ridden Ecuador has moved swiftly to take short-term economic advantage of the Galapagos.

Tourism, which generates $175 million a year, is a potential growth industry

Studies are needed to decide how best to proceed to link socio-economic development of the

island communities with the protection of the biodiversity. This will include developing an

administrative and operational structure to suit the unique situation of the Galapagos Islands.

(Garret 5)People continue to understand the importance of this World Heritage Site, Biosphere Reserve,

National Park and home to so many endemic species. The tourism is the main generator of income in

Galapagos. It is a very complex sector, constituted by powerful continental businesses, some

of them of capital foreigner, and small and medium local users. As mentioned, two of each three

economically active inhabitants in Galapagos work in direct activities or indirectly related to the

tourism, though the proportions can vary a great deal from an island to another for Ecuador, much of

which is tied to the Islands.(Bowman 7)The conservation of the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos

and that of the world in general is a responsibility and obligation that we all share, a responsibility to all

future generations ( Thornton3) Up until 1959, little importance was attached to conservation and

preservation of the islands; consequently several species are on the verge of extinction. For these

reasons, the highest priority should be given to the preservation of the archipelago's diversity of species

and its unique ecosystems, so important in an age where increasingly industrialized societies are causing

dangerous leveling-out of ecological diversity. Since 1960 the Government of Ecuador has been helping

to maintain this living museum by preventing hunting, particularly of tortoises and seals; eliminating pests

such as goats that have destroyed flora particularly (Beebe 8) Now so much the tourism since with the

different organizations we should prune to rely on that we have had successes in the battle to protect the

wild life and his habitat, but much remains for doing henceforth. Help for these programs is essential if

native animals such as the giant tortoises, the terrestrial iguana and the penguins have to survive and

prosper ... in this strange place that they made famous. There is no reason to believe that the tourism will

decline as international activity increases in the future. Everything in this topic inclines to suppose that it

will increase to be converted into a significant aspect of the economic and social development into the

islands. (Vazquez101)

Today, Galapagos continues to inspire a basic curiosity, a desire to understand the unique

species that live here, to understand how we fit in the planet, and to reflect upon our impact upon

it. It is one of the last remainders of nature were not able to protect this beauty and magics islands

(Beebe, William, Galapagos, Word's End, p89). If the measures outlined are to have any hope of

succeeding, it is essential that they have the support not only of the people of Galapagos , but of Ecuador

on the whole. ( Groot, p 300)

"The natural history of these islands is eminently curious and well deserves

attention. The archipelago is a little world within itself.... (where) both in space and

time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact, that mystery of

mysteries, the first appearance of new beings on this earth." Charles Darwin

In most people's minds the Galapagos Islands conjure up images of giant tortoises, small brown

finches, and the visit of young Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle. The islands have become famous

as a 'natural laboratory of evolution' in which scientists can study questions relating to the

formation of new species. The Galapagos Conservation produced this information to

tell you a little more about Galapagos, its unique flora and fauna, and the many serious

conservation problems facing it today.( p1)


Work Cited

Anderson, Isabel, Zigzagging the South Seas, 1936, Humphries.

Beebe,William,Galapagos, Word's End,1988,New York: Dover.

Bowman Robert, the Galapagos, 1967, Allen & Unwin (London)

Garret,Hardin,Nature and Man's Fate

Groot, R.S. (1983). Tourism and conservation in the Galapagos Islands. Biological

Conservation 26: 291-300

Ian Thornton, Darwin's Islands; A Natural History of the Galapagos, 1971, Garden City, N. Y.

Radcliffe, Barbara, Galapagos,1990,Malard Press. page 1

Vasquez, Alberto, viaje al fin del mundo: Galapagos, 1992,Barcelona: Plaza & Janis Editores