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2013 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III

Factors Influencing Farmers' Pesticide Use on Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador

Pesticide application in Ecuador, specifically on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos, is a problem that can lead to environmental degradation, loss of ecological uniqueness, and a decrease in long-term sustainable economic benefits. The problem is not only a result of poor control over the use and sale of pesticides, but also of farmer application. The demands of a rapidly growing community and tourist destination, along with high levels of invasive plant species introduced during development, puts pressure on farmers to overstep boundaries they would not traditionally overstep. An increase in the import of goods and services to the island, due to its increased population, makes it difficult for farmers to produce and compete in the local market. As a result, some farmers have turned towards pesticide use. This study looks at the narratives of Santa Cruz farmers, residents, and local officials to garner an understanding of their pesticide use. This presentation will touch on several of the key factors that influence farmers to use, or not to use, pesticides, including societal pressures, education, presence of invasive species, and Ecuadorian policy. Substantial proactive thinking and collaborative governance strategies are not apparent surrounding the current pesticide policies on Santa Cruz and could be used to mitigate some of these problems. The findings include suggestions for a more sustainable agricultural region in Galapagos, requiring a revision of policy, farmer education, and an island-based incentive program.

Presenter: Megan O'Connor (SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry) --
Topic: Environmental Science I - Panel
Location: 217 Hartwell
Time: 11:15 am (Session II)