Sustainable agro-ecological systems to promote the adaptation of communities in the Galapagos islands to climate change
Invasive species are one of the most serious threats to the biological stability of the Galapagos Archipelago. The low agricultural profitability, due to competition with imported products, and the low control practices lead these areas to become hotspots for the introduction and dispersion of such species. Simultaneously, conventional agriculture has led to a dependency on agrochemicals and pesticides, which, because of the permeability of the soils, leach to the underground aquifers – the only source of freshwater on the island. Years of conventional agriculture have also caused significant soil erosion.
There is also little gender inclusion on these islands. For example, in the rural areas of Santa Cruz, workforce participation in agricultural activities is made up of 86% men vs 14% women.
Conservation International – Ecuador, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, will lead a Conservation Agreements program that supports a transition to sustainable production, improves livelihoods, and reduces dependency on imports that currently drive invasive species introductions on Santa Cruz island. The program will also raise awareness about the potential climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits offered through agro-ecological techniques and improve sexual and reproductive health issues in the gender relations with men and women farmers in the upper Santa Island.
To improve the agricultural system on Santa Cruz Island, four key activities are planned:
- A model for the island’s agroecology will be built, in accordance with the Natural Heritage of Humanity Scenario, which guarantee a reliable and sustainable supply of local agricultural products and contribute to the conservation of the island’s ecosystems by reducing dependence on imported products. The strengthening of marketing chains is also a very important factor, both to increase the income of farmers, and to make visible the existing production, and in turn the demand of products from the community and tourism sector to consider this local alternative.
- The creation of a Field School, which is a source of key information transfer and collection, has been foreseen. Information on resilient and effective agricultural processes that have been used ancestrally will be spread as well as the environmental importance and consequences for climate change.
- The project will also strengthen the production of cultivated areas with an agroecological model, and the adequate management of non-cultivated areas in order to intensify the control of invasive species.
- The issue of gender equity, with emphasis on sexual and reproductive health will be mainstreamed in the project.