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Island Ecosystems: Challenges to Sustainability

Island Ecosystems: Challenges to Sustainability

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Sustainable development is a process to improve the quality of life of people, while maintaining the ability of social-ecological systems to continue to provide valuable ecological services that social systems require. In the Galapagos Islands, the maintenance of amenity resources to support tourism and the quality of life of residents is explicitly linked to ecosystem goods and services, particularly, the accessibility to high-quality natural environments and the terrestrial and marine visitation sites that showcase iconic species.

On June 26-30, 2022, the Galapagos Science Center celebrated its 10-Year Anniversary. As the crowning event of the anniversary celebration, the World Summit on Island Sustainability was held on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago of Ecuador. The intent of the World Summit was to bring together leading experts on island ecosystems and, particularly, on island sustainability from across the globe to represent a diversity of perspectives, approaches, and stakeholder groups. The World Summit was an exclusive event that featured an "expert convening" of scholars and practitioners to address the social, terrestrial, and marine sub-systems of the Galapagos Islands and other similarly challenged island ecosystems from around the globe. The World Summit attracted 150 scientists to the Galapagos Islands to discuss projects conducted, for instance, in the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, Guam, French Polynesia, Chile, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands.

Island vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability were examined by scholars, for instance, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Catholic University of Chile, University of Guam, James Cook University, University of the Sunshine Coast, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, California Academy of Sciences, University of San Francisco, and the University of South Alabama as well as affiliated scientists from Exeter University, University of Edinburgh, University of Southampton, and the Galapagos National Park. The World Summit also included scholars from Re: wild, World Wildlife Fund, EarthEcho, and the East-West Center, Hawaii.

Author: Stephen J. Walsh
Publisher: Springer
Published: 05/11/2023
Pages: 514
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 2.04lbs
Size: 9.21h x 6.14w x 1.19d
ISBN: 9783031280887

About the Author

Dr Stephen J. Walsh is Emeritus Distinguished Professor in the Department of Geography, the Founding Emeritus Director of the Center for Galapagos Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), and Co-Founding Director of the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Science Center (GSC), Galapagos Archipelago of Ecuador.

He co-founded the Galapagos Initiative, forming a strategic partnership with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Ecuador. The initiative includes the 2011 construction of the 20,000-square-foot Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Ecuador, a facility that hosts an extensive and intensive program of integrated and interdisciplinary science. The Galapagos Initiative emphasises research, education, and community outreach and engagement, achieved through studies conducted in the GSC labs - genetics and microbiology, marine ecology, terrestrial ecology, and spatial analysis and modelling. Through linkages forged among UNC, USFQ, GSC, and the Galapagos National Park, a DNA-pipeline was created for the genetic sequencing of collected biological samples to support a host of molecular studies of iconic, native, and introduced species in the Galapagos Islands.

In addition to informing conservation efforts for the Galapagos Islands, Dr Walsh's research is providing a global template for the study of other conflicted and challenged island ecosystems. His main research interests include human-environment interactions, coupled human-natural systems, and cutting-edge geographic methods, including, remote sensing, geographic information systems, and spatial analysis. In 2012, Dr Walsh and Springer Nature launched the book series "Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands", for which he is still Series Editor together with Dr. Carlos F. Mena.

Dr. Carlos F. Mena is the Founding Director of the USFQ Institute of Geography and founding Co-Director of the Galapagos Science Center. Carlos F. Mena is Professor of Geography in the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences at USFQ and Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carlos F. Mena obtained his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) and has been doing research in the Amazon and Galapagos Islands for more than 20 years.

Since 2010, Carlos F. Mena co- created, developed, and lead the Galapagos Science Center (GSC). The GSC is an interdisciplinary research center in San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago for the advancement of science, conservation and sustainable development of the Galapagos and Ecuador. Mena also co-created and manages the University Consortium for Galapagos Research, a network of international universities, which develop research projects in the Galapagos Islands through the Galapagos Science Center. The USFQ Institute of Geography (USFQ-IG), created by Carlos F. Mena in 2016, is an interdisciplinary space at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito to foster geographic research and education in Ecuador.

Jill Stewart, Co-Guest Editor, is the Philip C. Singer Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and former Deputy Director of the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies. She develops novel techniques to detect and track pathogens in water. She is particularly interested in linkages between ecosystems and human health and well-being.

Juan Pablo Muñoz-Pérez, Co-Guest Editor, has more than 20-years of experience in diving and surfing in the Galápagos and 10-years conducting research. Juan Pablo's research focuses on animal movement and ecology, especially sea turtles and other marine animals such as whales and dolphins. Since 2014 he has been a pioneer in investigating plastic pollution in Galápagos with the primary objective of using science to find solutions. Currently, he is completing his PhD at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

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