Galapagos Islands Wildlife
In the Galapagos Islands it can be defined several areas of vegetation according to the increase of the elevation, the type and readiness of water and variable characteristics of the soils. These areas are Coast, Arid, Humid, Miconia and Ferms
Coast: It is along the beaches, lagoons of salted water and low and uneven stony banks, where the vegetation is influenced by the presence of salt. The predominant plants are small trees, bushes and tolerant grasses to salt. They prevail in bays and protected lagoons, the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangrove), black mangrove (Avicennia germinans), white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa), and button mangrove (Conocarpus erecta), also are common the salted Mount (Cryptocarpus pyriformis) and Sesuvium spp.
Arid area: Located above the coast area, is located this zone which is the most extensive area in the island. Outstanding plants are the Cactus, represented for (Brachycereus nesioticus), the giant candle (Jasminocereus thouarsii), and four tuna species (Opuntia spp). There are also trees and bushes of small leaves, some with thorns that cover the gulches in the lava, sacred stick, Bursera graveolens, Chala Croton scouleri; Acacia Acacia spp; Matazarno Piscidia carthagenensis, Tree Hippomane mancinella; a number of annual or perennial grasses that produce a green and abundant cover for few weeks during the short time of growth; and many líquens of several colors. Humid area: It appears above of the arid area through a transition fringe in which it combines elements of both areas. The humidity of this area stays during the dry season thanks to fog and thick garúas that accumulate during the whole night and they persist in the day.
The milky tree prevails in this area (Scalesia spp of up to 20 meters), together with the Guayabillo (Psidium galapageium).
Bushes, lianas, bromelias and numerous species of ferns, orchids, mosses and líquens, which grow on trunks, branches, and shafts and still in the leaves of some species, compose the cringing vegetation.
Miconia area: Low and dense bushes replace the high trees. Endemic species are the cacaotillo - (Miconia robinsoniana). In this area it is more extensively developed in the Island Santa Cruz. Due to the dense growth of hepatic and líquens, a shade brown color takes place in the vegetation, which is accentuated more difficultly in the dry season. This area has been almost entirely altered by the man because of agricultural activities and of shepherding, and alone small areas of this type of vegetation remain in its natural state.
Area of ferns, gramineous, ciperáceas: It covers the area of the summits of the biggest Islands where the humidity is retained in temporary lagoons.
The thin leaves and other adaptations of the plants are good to reduce the loss of water.
Most of the floral life is represented by ciperáceos, gramineous and blended perennial ferns with low bushes.
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Eric Castro Mattas chief editor of Posicionarte in Quito, Ecuador.