, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 97-107

Threatened species, a re-evaluation of the status of eight endemic plants of the Gala´pagos

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Abstract

Although still in relatively good condition, the Gala´pagos Archipelago suffers from increasing human pressures. Apart from direct actions like hunting and logging, endemic plants and animals are threatened by introduced species, and in many cases the present status of the populations is not known. The conservation status of eight plant species considered endangered was studied from literature and field surveys and the main threats were determined. Each of the eight species is endemic to only one island but in some cases is also present on nearby islets. Of these eight species, one is considered extinct, one critically endangered, and the others suffer various levels of threat. As in all island systems of the world, the main threats are introduced organisms, both plants and animals. The extinct species probably disappeared owing to invasion by Lantana camara, one of the most aggressively invasive plants of the islands, and the most endangered species is threatened by goats. The remaining species seem to be regenerating well and we can expect positive results from protection efforts. Today, only one of the eight species benefits from a direct protection action.