Darwin Garcia Bautista
Conservation and governance of the coastal wetland system of Pisco and Chincha, Peru
Project Site: Coastal Wetland System of Pisco and Chincha
Disciplines: Conservation Biology, Public Policy, Environmental Law, Ornithology
Collaborators: Huarango Nature, Royal Botanical Gardens, Society for Environmental Law-Peru, Peru Shorebird Group (GAP), Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga de Ica, Ica Regional Office for Natural Resources and Environment, Paracas National Reserve
Darwin is a biologist with an MSc in Ecology. Fond of ornithology and nature photography, his professional career is linked to the conservation of biodiversity in his native Peru. Darwin has experience in the design and implementation of strategies for the restoration of arid ecosystems and in the long-term monitoring of terrestrial biodiversity, including birds, plants, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and arthropods. He is well versed in environmental management in Protected Natural Areas, as well as in the evaluation and preparation of impact studies and environmental investment projects.
Darwin’s project is based in the Pisco and Chincha wetland system in the region of Ica in southern Peru. These wetlands have a great diversity of shorebird habitats, with over 70,000 individuals at the Paracas National Park, a recognised IBA and Ramsar Site, and the second most important site for shorebirds in the country.
Despite their relevance, in the last 20 years (accelerated in the last 7), these wetlands have been degraded mainly due to land-use changes for agriculture and urban development, worsening issues like solid waste management, landfills, construction waste, and invasive species. These problems are linked to a lack of proper planning and poor management.
Given this scenario, Darwin’s Coastal Solutions project will establish an adequate conservation mechanism for these wetlands that will legally guarantee their protection in the future. The work will include mapping the wetland extension, updating and generating information on the biological communities it hosts, spatially identifying priority threats, proposing recovery/restoration alternatives, strengthening the capacities of the main actors involved in its management, and transferring information and technical-scientific advice. The project will also include a strong component of inclusive environmental education, community engagement, and awareness campaigns.
Darwin will be supported by his mentor, the English naturalist, illustrator, ecologist and botanist Oliver Whaley, from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, England. Designing projects with Kew Gardens in Latin America since 1998, Oliver has vast experience planning and coordinating interdisciplinary projects with inclusive teams, focused on community and corporate partnership for ecological conservation and restoration. His work encompasses problem solving, developing practical solutions for endangered native species, habitat restoration, adaptive project development, long-term monitoring, and community engagement.