Stuart Banks, CDF Marine Scientist during the launching of “Science to Action”
The Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), together with Conservation International (CI) and the University of San Francisco in Quito (USFQ), participated in the international “Science to Action” project, launched September 23 in the Galápagos provincial capital of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristóbal Island in the presence of local and national authorities.
The principal objective of the project is a public information campaign on the importance of the ecological and socioeconomic research conducted in the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR). Such data facilitate GMR management and administration as well as generate accessible information for local and national authorities, students and the general public.
The GMR is globally unique for its biodiversity. Over 3000 known marine species inhabit this Reserve, of which approximately 18% are endemic, highlighting its importance to scientific research, as well as the need for its protection.
Since 1999, CDF’s ongoing ecological monitoring of the GMR has provided a continuous source of detailed scientific information that serves as a tool to guide decision-making processes as well as to provide greater understanding to enhance the conservation and protection of the Reserve. One of the principles of the GMR management plan is adaptive management that takes into account both the state of the natural resources and the needs of the local community as they change over time. “The challenge,” said CDF Marine Scientist Stuart Banks, “is to evaluate whether the goal of sustaining natural resources is being met for those who depend on them and, in the near future, with support from all sectors, to improve measures such as coastal zoning that can help sustain a healthy Reserve. Banks continued that: “With the “Science to Action” project, we want to communicate the results of marine surveys and research over the last ten years which contribute to GMR management. We want to begin to make available the information that makes marine science useful, comprehensible and applicable, allowing a better relationship and understanding between the local community and the Reserve.”
The “Science to Action” project will be implemented in multiple phases involving various participants at the local and national levels. A preliminary project introduction phase will be followed by an SMS messaging campaign and a series of roundtables with numerous sectors such as artisanal fishing, tourism and education, as well as with authorities responsible for GMR management and administration.
The “Science to Action” initiative was generated by CI’s Unit of Applied Science for the Management of Marine Areas (MMAs). The project has been implemented in numerous countries such as Brazil, Belize, Panama, Philippines, and now in Galápagos, Ecuador.
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