Honors College Thesis

 

Under the Sea: An evaluation of the establishment and continued effectiveness of the Galápagos National Park and Marine Reserve in Ecuador Public

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  • Conservation of natural resources has become a new watchword of the scientific community. While many terrestrial ecosystems are well protected, marine ecosystems have only recently come to the forefront. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been introduced as a means of protecting biodiversity, commercial stocks, and ecosystem services. There are many social, ecological, and economic considerations to be addressed for a marine reserve to be effective from a biological and social perspective. In 1998 the Special Law of the Galápagos created the Galápagos Marine Reserve, and instituted a participatory management scheme for local and governmental cooperation in management. The foundations of the Special Law are strong, however many problems plague the islands, including rapid growth of the population and the tourism industry, and a great deal of non-compliance with reserve regulations in the form of violent protests and illegal fisheries. Feelings of legitimacy must be fostered among the local populations through significant improvements in education to enhance stakeholder participation, and increased funding to the National Park to allow for effective enforcement of the regulations. Increasing visitor fees is a potential source of new income to be used for park management and improving local resources, especially education.
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