Darwin’s ecological experiment on Ascension Island

A lonely island in the middle of the South Atlantic conceals Charles Darwin’s best-kept secret. When Darwin arrived in 1836 the island of Ascension was bare volcanic rock. He conceived the grand idea of changing Ascension into a tropical paradise

The Encyclopedia of Earth (www.eoearth.org) notes:

“Forests were never present on Ascension Island. Much of the island, particularly to the north and the west, is marked by barren desert areas with some grass interspersed with the endemic Euphorbia origanoides, while a thick scrub of introduced species and Opuntia occurs at higher elevations. The high peak of Green Mountain is covered with lush natural vegetation that is increasingly spreading throughout the island. Twenty-five native vascular plants are recorded for Ascension Island, with 6 endemic ferns and 5 endemic flowering plants.”

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