The Galapagos Islands are one of the most amazing and unique ecological resources on the planet. Made famous by the works of Charles Darwin and his theory ofevolution, the archipelago has the potential to be a living ecological laboratory where scientists can study the interaction of species in a complete environmental system. This potential, and theecosystem itself, are threatened by human impact.
The presence of people in the Islands has two sources: migration from the mainland and tourism Migration.
Hoping to find work, people from mainlandEcuador have literally invaded the Islands. The Galapagos population has increased over 300% in the past few decades. Today, more than 20,000 people live on the Islands. The population is doubling everyeleven years, which means that there will be 40,000 people on the Galapagos Islands by 2014. This affects the archipelago in a number of means. Aside from the pressure put on the natural resources, thislarge growth means that most of the garbage is dumped in an open air site and burned with no sort of treatment or separation.
For a long time, tourists have enjoyed the rich flora and fauna of theGalapagos. Despite the high prices, the stream of visitors has never broken off. A second airport was built and the construction of a third one is under discussion. The park service does a remarkablejob of regulating the licensing of guides, as well as designating low-impact landing sites. The National Park charges a $100 entrance fee on foreign tourists, yet receives only 25% of that.Nevertheless, the park has to deal with the conservation problems that motor yachts and their trash bring to the island.
Recently, overfishing or illegal fishing has become a large issue. When migrants do notfind work in tourism, they often find jobs in the fishing industry. The sea cucumber and sharks of the Galapagos have become alarming targets, both popular in Asian markets for their aphrodisiac or...