Robinson Crusoe Island

February 2015

Conservation benefit: Environmental education and removal of invasive plants from 12.4-acre area

Community benefit: Construction of an environmental education and volunteer center

The remote Juan Fernández archipelago is home to an amazing number of species that live nowhere else. There are 137 unique plant species and three unique animal species, as well as four subspecies. The archipelago sits in the Pacific, about 400 miles west of mainland Chile. Alejandro Selkirk Island is the largest of the group, at 5,000 hectares (19 square miles), and has the most endemic species. Its human residents make a living primarily from fishing and ecotourism.

Most of the archipelago is part of Juan Fernández National Park, and it was declared a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1977. In 2009, the IUCN named the park as one of the 12 most threatened national parks on the planet. Invasive plants pose a huge threat to its biodiversity.

The Juan Fernández Islands Conservancy Program will clear invasive plants from at least 12.4 acres (five hectares) of Alejandro Selkirk Island, working with community members, volunteers, and the National Parks Administration. It will also undertake a 10-year environmental education program, encouraging residents, students, and tourists to actively participate in island conservation.

To support these efforts, Seacology is funding construction of an environmental education center on Robinson Crusoe island. The building will also house the volunteer groups that come each year to help remove invasive species.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Project Updates
May 2018
Invasive plants on Alejandro Selkirk Island are being removed. Construction of the volunteer center should commence soon when a site is confirmed.
May 2017
Another wrinkle in this project has developed. A newly elected mayor on Robinson Crusoe Island is refusing to honor an agreement signed by the former mayor, allowing construction of the...
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December 2016
This project took an unexpected turn when the Forestry Corporation of Chile, which administers the Juan Fernández National Park, revoked its permission for our nonprofit partner to build an...
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May 2016
Most Seacology projects are in remote places, but the logistical challenges of this project stand out. Supplies come to the archipelago’s main island once a month, on a Chilean navy ship; then...
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January 2016
Good progress has been made on this project. The Juan Fernández Islands Conservancy Program secured permission from the Forestry Corporation of Chile (which administers the park) to build the...
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