Fossil Pollen as a Guide to Conservation in the Galápagos

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Science  21 Nov 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5905, pp. 1206
DOI: 10.1126/science.1163454

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Paleoecological evidence from the past 8000 years in the Galápagos Islands shows that six presumed introduced or doubtfully native species (Ageratum conyzoides, Borreria laevis/Diodia radula‐type, Brickellia diffusa, Cuphea carthagenensis, Hibiscus diversifolius, and Ranunculus flagelliformis) are in fact native to the archipelago. Fossil pollen and macrofossils from four sites in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island reveal that all were present thousands of years before the advent of human impact, refuting their classification as introduced species. These findings have substantial implications not only for conservation in Galápagos but for the management of introduced species and pantropical weeds in general.

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