Expert Brent A. Mitchell highlights the conservation area of Fundación Mar Adentro as an example that demonstrates the public benefits of private conservation.
Chile is one of the countries where private conservation areas have increased, consolidating a global trend that indicates an effort of voluntary preservation by individuals and NGOs. While the newly inaugurated parks in Patagonia are what is most known at an international level, there are smaller reserves whose contribution is significant.
This is the case, according to Mitchell, of Bosque Pehuén, “It covers a complete basin that protects meadows, ancient forests, shrubs and pastures, secondary and renewable forests, as well as waterfalls, rivers and streams that are formed by the accumulation of snow in winter.” He points out that the Araucaria, very important and culturally relevant, is one of the main species that are here being protected and that are currently an endangered species, along with the little monkey of the mountain and Darwin’s frog.
Mitchell explains how the forest of this reserve was exploited until the 70s, making it an ideal place to study renewal: since 2014, scientists from the Austral University carry out innovative research, while recently a team from the University California Davis-Chile has managed to analyze the disease that has been affecting the Araucarias in the entire area. Climate studies and snow accumulation patterns, led by Carlos Mendoza, FMA Conservation Coordinator, are added to this open-air laboratory, which seeks to generate multidisciplinary and innovative models of conservation and knowledge, by linking scientific research with artistic residency and education.
Another point highlighted by Mitchell is the proximity to the Villarrica National Park, which builds a network of protected territory, and that can join efforts, for example, in the prevention and management of forest fires.
The public benefits of private reserves do not always include public access, concludes Mitchell, as is the case of Bosque Pehuén, and of several of the 37 members of the Así Conserva Chile network, which brings together private and community initiatives and together they total 600,000 hectares of protected land.
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