Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 2893–2912 | Cite as

Lessons from successful plant eradications in Galapagos: commitment is crucial

Original Paper


We analyse introduced plant eradication projects in Galapagos. 8 (38 %) of 21 initiated projects have succeeded. Evaluation of project progress, feasibility and costs suggests that for <US$100,000 (2015 prices) another 12 projects could achieve eradication within 5 years. This contrasts with the analysis of the same programme by Gardener et al. (Restor Ecol 18:20–29, 2010), which concluded that 87 % of projects failed. The difference arises because Gardener et al. (2010) wrongly included 15 plant populations which either had not been completely evaluated, or had been evaluated as potential eradication targets but excluded as not feasible with available resources (i.e. they were not eradication projects), while they omitted six further projects, of which two had already achieved eradication. Of the projects which they labelled as “failed”, two have also since achieved eradication, while five others are still in progress with eradication as their stated objective. They also abandoned six high-feasibility projects that were showing promising results. They placed the programme in the context of the “novel ecosystem” paradigm, which views much ecosystem restoration as futile, especially invasive species management. However, the Galapagos programme was designed to address small populations of incipient invasives, where eradication is more a tool to prevent the future impacts of new invaders than a tool for restoration. We show that eradication of plants in this context is achievable when a simple prior feasibility assessment is made.


Feasibility Incipient invaders Prevention Novel ecosystems 



Funding for the eradication programme was provided by Monsanto Corp., the United Nations Foundation, and the GEF Project ECU/00/G31 “Control of Invasive Species in the Galapagos Archipelago”. Wilson Cabrera, Karl Campbell, Pilar Díaz, Heinke Jäger, Gonzalo Rivas and Aníbal Sanmiguel kindly provided updates on the status of projects or costs. We thank Rachel Atkinson, David Duffy, Mark Gardener, Fred Kraus, Dane Panetta, John Parkes, Jorge-Luis Rentería, Alan Saunders, Dan Simberloff and two anonymous referees for helpful comments on drafts.


  1. Allen BL, Lundie-Jenkins G, Burrows ND, Engeman RM, Fleming PJS, Leung LKP (2014) Does lethal control of top-predators release mesopredators? A re-evaluation of three Australian case studies. Ecol Manag Restor 15:191–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkinson R, Guézou A, Jaramillo P (2009) Siémbrame en tu jardín. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto AyoraGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson R, Gardener M, Harper G, Carrion V (2012) Fifty years of eradication as a conservation tool in Galápagos: what are the limits? In: Wolff M, Gardener M (eds) The role of science for conservation. Proceedings of the 2009 Galapagos science symposium. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, pp 183–198Google Scholar
  4. Bomford M, O’Brien P (1995) Eradication or control for vertebrate pests? Wildl Soc Bull 23:249–255Google Scholar
  5. Buddenhagen C (2006) The successful eradication of two blackberry species Rubus megalococcus Focke and R. adenotrichos Schltdl. (Rosaceae) from Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Pac Conserv Biol 12:272–278Google Scholar
  6. Buddenhagen C, Yánez P (2005) The cost of quinine Cinchona pubescens control on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Galapagos Res 63:32–36Google Scholar
  7. Cacho O, Pheloung P (2007) WeedSearch weed eradication feasibility analysis software manual. University of New England, Armidale.
  8. Cacho OJ, Spring D, Pheloung P, Hester S (2006) Evaluating the feasibility of eradicating an invasion. Biol Invasions 8:903–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cayot LJ (1996) Alcedo update. Notic Galápagos 57:3–4Google Scholar
  10. Clout MN, Veitch CR (2002) Turning the tide of biological invasion: the potential for eradicating invasive species. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN, Gland, pp 1–3Google Scholar
  11. Coello S, Saunders A (2011) Final project evaluation, control of invasive species in the Galapagos Archipelago, ECU/00/G31. Prepared for Global Environment Fund (GEF)—United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)—Ministry of the Environment, Ecuador.
  12. Cruz F, Donlan CJ, Campbell K, Carrion V (2005) Conservation action in the Galápagos: feral pig (Sus scrofa) eradication from Santiago Island. Biol Conserv 121:473–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cruz F, Carrion V, Campbell KJ, Lavoie C, Donlan CJ (2009) Bio-economics of large-scale eradication of feral goats from Santiago Island, Galápagos. J Wildl Manag 73:191–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dana ED, Jeschke JM, García-de-Lomas J (2014) Decision tools for managing biological invasions: existing biases and future needs. Oryx 48:56–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davis MA, Chew MK, Hobbs RJ, Lugo AE, Ewel JJ, Vermeij GJ, Brown JH, Rosenzweig ML, Gardener MR et al (2011) Don’t judge species on their origins. Nature 474:153–154CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dodd AJ, Ainsworth N, Burgman MA, McCarthy MA (2014) Plant extirpation at the site scale: implications for eradication programmes. Divers Distrib 21:151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DPNG (2014) Plan de manejo de las áreas protegidas de Galápagos para el buen vivir. Dirección del Parque Nacional Galápagos, Puerto AyoraGoogle Scholar
  18. Evans HC (2000) Biological control of invasive weeds in the Galápagos Islands. 3. Rubus niveus. Report to Charles Darwin Foundation, CABI Bioscience, AscotGoogle Scholar
  19. Gardener MR, Atkinson R, Rentería JL (2010) Eradications and people: lessons from the plant eradication program in Galapagos. Restor Ecol 18:20–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gardener MR, Bustamante RO, Herrera I, Durigand G, Pivello VR, Moro MF, Stoll A, Langdon B, Baruch Z, Rico A, Arredondo-Nuñez A, Flores S (2012) Plant invasions research in Latin America: fast track to a more focused agenda. Plant Ecol Divers 5:225–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gardener MR, Trueman M, Buddenhagen C, Heleno R, Jäger H, Atkinson R, Tye A (2013) A pragmatic approach to the management of plant invasions in Galapagos. In: Foxcroft LC, Pyšek P, Richardson DM, Genovesi P (eds) Plant invasions in protected areas: patterns, problems and challenges. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 349–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gordon DR, Onderdonk DA, Fox AM, Stocker RK (2008) Consistent accuracy of the Australian weed risk assessment system across varied geographies. Divers Distrib 14:234–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guézou A, Trueman M, Buddenhagen CE, Chamorro S, Guerrero AM, Pozo P, Atkinson R (2010) An extensive alien plant inventory from the inhabited areas of Galapagos. PLoS One 5:e10276PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Harris S, Timmins SM (2009) Estimating the benefit of early control of all newly naturalised plants. New Zealand Department of Conservation, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  25. Hobbs RJ, Arico S, Aronson J, Baron JS, Bridgewater P, Cramer VA, Epstein PR, Ewel JJ, Klink CA, Lugo AE, Norton D, Ojima D, Richardson DM, Sanderson EW, Valladares F, Vilà M, Zamora R, Zobel M (2006) Novel ecosystems: theoretical and management aspects of the new ecological world order. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 15:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hobbs RJ, Higgs ES, Hall C (2013) Novel ecosystems: intervening in the new ecological world order. Wiley, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Howell CJ (2012) Progress toward environmental weed eradication in New Zealand. Invasive Plant Sci Manag 5:249–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. IUCN (2000) Guidelines for the prevention of biodiversity loss caused by alien invasive species.
  29. Keller RP, Lodge DM, Finnoff DC (2007) Risk assessment for invasive species produces net bioeconomic benefits. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 104:203–207PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kolbert E (2014) The big kill, New Zealand’s crusade to rid itself of mammals. New Yorker, December 2014, pp 120–129Google Scholar
  31. Kraus F, Duffy DC (2010) A successful model from Hawaii for rapid response to invasive species. J Nat Conserv 18:135–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Loope LL, Hughes RF, Meyer JY (2013) Plant invasions in protected areas of tropical Pacific islands, with special reference to Hawaii. In: Foxcroft LC, Pyšek P, Richardson DM, Genovesi P (eds) Plant invasions in protected areas. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 313–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacDonald IAW (2013) Foreword. In: Foxcroft LC, Pyšek P, Richardson DM, Genovesi P (eds) Plant invasions in protected areas. Springer, Dordrecht, pp vii–viiiGoogle Scholar
  34. Mack RN, Lonsdale WM (2002) Eradicating invasive plants: hard-won lessons for islands. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN, Gland, pp 164–172Google Scholar
  35. Marris E (2009) Ragamuffin earth. Nature 460:450–453CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Marris E, Mascaro J, Ellis EC (2013) Perspective: is everything a novel ecosystem? If so, do we need the concept? In: Hobbs RJ, Higgs ES, Hall C (eds) Novel ecosystems: intervening in the new ecological world order. Wiley, Oxford, pp 345–349Google Scholar
  37. Mauchamp A, Muñoz ML (1996) A kudzu alert in Galápagos: the urgent need for quarantine. Notic Galápagos 57:22–23Google Scholar
  38. Murcia C, Aronson J, Kattan GH, Moreno-Mateos D, Dixon K, Simberloff D (2014) A critique of the ‘novel ecosystem’ concept. Trends Ecol Evol 29:548–553CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Myers JH, Simberloff D, Kuris AM, Carey JR (2000) Eradication revisited: dealing with exotic species. Trends Ecol Evol 15:316–320CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Owen SJ (1998) Department of Conservation strategic plan for managing invasive weeds. New Zealand Department of Conservation, WellingtonGoogle Scholar
  41. Panetta FD (2004) Seed banks: the bane of the weed eradicator. In: Proceedings of the fourteenth Australian weeds conference, Wagga Wagga, pp 523–526Google Scholar
  42. Panetta FD (2007) Evaluation of weed eradication programs: containment and extirpation. Divers Distrib 13:33–41Google Scholar
  43. Panetta FD (2015) Weed eradication feasibility: lessons of the 21st century. Weed Res. doi: 10.1111/wre.12136 Google Scholar
  44. Panetta FD, Timmins SM (2004) Evaluating the feasibility of eradication for terrestrial weed incursions. Plant Prot Q 19:5–11Google Scholar
  45. Panetta FD, Cacho O, Hester S, Sims-Chilton N (2011a) Estimating the duration and cost of weed eradication programmes. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN, Towns DR (eds) Island invasives: eradication and management. IUCN, Gland, pp 472–476Google Scholar
  46. Panetta FD, Cacho O, Hester S, Sims-Chilton N, Brooks S (2011b) Estimating and influencing the duration of weed eradication programmes. J Appl Ecol 48:980–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Parkes JP, Panetta FD (2009) Eradication of invasive species: progress and emerging issues in the 21st century. In: Clout MN, Williams PA (eds) Invasive species management. A handbook of principles and techniques. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 47–60Google Scholar
  48. Pheloung PC, Williams PA, Halloy SR (1999) A weed risk assessment model for use as a biosecurity tool evaluating plant introductions. J Environ Manag 57:239–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Prado L, Tye A (1997) Informe técnico y propuesta de reformulación, proyecto FECD: componente forestería. In: Annual report of the Charles Darwin Research Station, 1996. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto AyoraGoogle Scholar
  50. Rentería JL, Atkinson R, Buddenhagen C (2007) Estrategias para la erradicación de 21 especies de plantas potencialmente invasoras en Galápagos. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto AyoraGoogle Scholar
  51. Rentería JL, Gardener MR, Panetta FD, Crawley MJ (2012) Management of the invasive Hill Raspberry (Rubus niveus) on Santiago Island, Galapagos: eradication or indefinite control? Invasive Plant Sci Manag 5:37–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. República del Ecuador (1998) Ley de régimen especial para la conservación y desarrollo sustentable de la Provincia de Galápagos. Ley no. 67. Registro Official 278.
  53. Seastedt TR, Hobbs RJ, Suding KN (2008) Management of novel ecosystems: are novel approaches required? Front Ecol Environ 6:547–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Simberloff D (1990) Reconstructing the ambiguous: can island ecosystems be restored? In: Towns DR, Dougherty CH, Atkinson IAE (eds) Ecological restoration of New Zealand Islands. Department of Conservation, Wellington, pp 37–51Google Scholar
  55. Simberloff D (2003) Eradications—preventing invasions at the outset. Weed Sci 51:247–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Simberloff D (2013) Eradication: pipe dream or real option? In: Foxcroft LC, Pyšek P, Richardson DM, Genovesi P (eds) Plant invasions in protected areas. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 549–559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Simberloff D, Genovesi P, Pyšek P, Campbell K (2011) Recognizing conservation success. Science 332:419CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Snell HM, Mauchamp A, Aldáz I (1996) Plant nursery at CDRS. Notic Galápagos 56:2Google Scholar
  59. Snell HL, Tye A, Causton CE, Bensted-Smith R (2002) The status of and threats to terrestrial biodiversity. In: Bensted-Smith R (ed) A biodiversity vision for the Galapagos Islands. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, pp 30–47Google Scholar
  60. Soria M, Gardener MR, Tye A (2002) Eradication of potentially invasive plants with limited distributions in the Galapagos Islands. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN, Gland, pp 287–292Google Scholar
  61. St Quinton JM, Fay MF, Ingrouille M, Faull J (2011) Characterisation of Rubus niveus: a prerequisite to its biological control in oceanic islands. Biocontrol Sci Technol 21:733–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Timmins SM, Owen SJ (2001) Scary species, superlative sites: assessing weed risk in New Zealand’s protected natural areas. In: Groves RH, Panetta FD, Virtue JG (eds) Weed risk assessment. CSIRO, Collingwood, pp 217–227Google Scholar
  63. Trueman M, Atkinson R, Guézou A, Wurm P (2010) Residence time and human-mediated propagule pressure at work in the alien flora of Galapagos. Biol Invasions 12:3949–3960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Trueman M, Standish RJ, Hobbs RJ (2014) Identifying management options for modified vegetation: application of the novel ecosystems framework to a case study in the Galapagos Islands. Biol Conserv 172:37–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tye A (2001) Invasive plant problems and requirements for weed risk assessment in the Galapagos islands. In: Groves RH, Panetta FD, Virtue JG (eds) Weed risk assessment. CSIRO, Collingwood, pp 153–175Google Scholar
  66. Tye A (2003) Plant research for conservation in Galapagos. Report for the years 1998–2003 and challenges for the future. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto AyoraGoogle Scholar
  67. Tye A (2006) Can we infer island introduction and naturalization rates from inventory data? Evidence from introduced plants in Galapagos. Biol Invasions 8:201–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tye A (2007) Cost of rapid-response eradication of a recently introduced plant, Tropical Kudzu Pueraria phaseoloides, from Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Plant Prot Q 22:33–34Google Scholar
  69. Tye A, Soria M, Gardener MR (2002) A strategy for Galapagos weeds. In: Veitch CR, Clout MN (eds) Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species. IUCN, Gland, pp 336–341Google Scholar
  70. UNDP (2001) Project document, UNDP project number: ECU/00/G31. Project title: Control of invasive species in the Galapagos archipelago. United Nations Development Programme, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  71. van Andel J (2013) Book review: Novel ecosystems: intervening in the new ecological world order. Restor Ecol 21:523–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vince G (2011) Embracing invasives. Science 331:1383–1384CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. West CJ, Thompson AM (2013) Small, dynamic and recently settled: responding to the impacts of plant invasions in the New Zealand (Aotearoa) archipelago. In: Foxcroft LC, Pyšek P, Richardson DM, Genovesi P (eds) Plant invasions in protected areas. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 285–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Woldendorp G, Bomford M (2004) Weed eradication: strategies, timeframes and costs. Bureau of Rural Sciences, CanberraGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological ScienceFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.NicosiaCyprus

Personalised recommendations