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Keywords:

  • cost;
  • eradication failure;
  • invasive;
  • island;
  • Rubus niveus;
  • stakeholder participation;
  • weed

It is often argued that the benefit of eradication of an invasive species—a one-off injection of funds and the problem is solved—far outweighs the cost of a perennial control program. Furthermore, these are very attractive projects for funding agencies as outcomes are clear and easy to assess. Galapagos is in the early stage of the invasion process, with most alien species not yet naturalized and still restricted to gardens and farms. These species should be easy targets for early and cost-effective eradication projects, which would prevent many future problems. We review 30 plant eradication projects covering 23 potentially invasive species with limited distributions on four of the Galapagos Islands. Of the 30 projects, only four were successful: these were all less than 1 ha in net area, on land with a single owner and did not have persistent seed banks. Of the other 26 projects, most failed due to a lack of support from institutions that did not offer continuity of resources, from land owners who denied permission to carry out the work or from being too ambitious. As a result of these problems, 64.3% of the funding secured for the program was spent on discontinued projects. We highlight lessons learned to inform plant eradication programs in the future.