Galapagos could share some ecological characteristics with other islands of volcanic origin such as: the lack of fresh water and the presence of persistent soil and the presence of endemic flora tremendously sensitive to the introduction of alien species.
But unlike other comparable islands, due to the late human settlement and preservation efforts, Galapagos still holds much of its unique biodiversity. That is why it has become a emblematic site of conservation recognized on a worldwide level, Galapagos constitutes a exceptional eco-region, where crucial ecological processes are still taking palace, “a natural laboratory of evolution” like nowhere in the world.
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the highest levels of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth). About 80% of the land birds you will see, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants are endemic. More than 20% of the marine species in Galapagos are found nowhere else on earth. The most iconic include the giant Galapagos tortoise, marine iguana, flightless cormorant, and the Galapagos penguin — the only penguin species to be found in the Northern Hemisphere.
The archipelago has several international figures that have applied to try and ensure conservation of Galapagos, including: Reserve for World Heritage Sites, Ramsar Site, The Whale Sanctuary, Biosphere Reserve, etc.
The Global Strategy for Nature Conservation identifies Galapagos as a priority bio-geographical province for the establishment of protected areas.
the National Park and Marine Reserve, reflect the commitment made by the Ecuadorian government to preserve this important legacy for future generations of Galapagos, Ecuador and humanity in general.
it is unquestionable that Ecuador and the world have an interest and are jointly responsible for maintaining the Galapagos in the best possible condition which implies that the human population and goods and services generated by ecosystems in the archipelago should be managed from a perspective of sustainable development.
Conservation is undoubtedly the best business in the Galapagos. The natural capital of the archipelago is the main asset available to local people and the real engine that could and should promote their development. Galapagos Conservation generates sustainable benefits that contribute directly and indirectly to substantially improve the quality of life and welfare of local people.