• The event was held in Valdivia on December 1, 2016 in the Paraninfo auditorium of the Teja Island Campus, Universidad Austral de Chile.
• During the seminar a number of protected areas cases in the Los Ríos Region and their contributions to the local development of their territories were presented.
The main objective of the seminar “Conservation and Local Development Contribution of Protected Areas in the Los Ríos Region” was to share experiences and lessons learned in biodiversity conservation and management of public and private protected areas, as well as to highlight the role of public and private protected areas as agents of economic and social development of the territory.
The seminar was held on December 1, 2016, at the Isla Teja Campus of the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia, and organized by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), administrator of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, a protected area supported by BHP Billiton, and Oncol Forest Park (Arauco).
The activity was open to the community and included a Local- and Community Development Fair in the hall of the Paraninfo auditorium.
The seminar addressed three important issues that are key to the development of protected areas, both public- and private.
The first was the analysis of the legal and legislative initiatives that currently concern protected areas, such as the Conservation Real Rights Law (recently approved) and the law that creates the Biodiversity and Protected Area Service, the latter still in discussion in the Chilean parliament.
“It is fundamental to update the legal tools we have today for conservation. We are undergoing a transformation process of the institutionality of protected- and conservation areas in Chile.
We have the bill that creates the Biodiversity and Protected Area Service, which is under discussion in parliament, as well as the Conservation Real Rights Law, a legal instrument that was recently approved and that we believe will change the current normative and institutional framework for conservation”, explained Alberto Tacón, academic at the Conservation Institute of the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) and one of the organizers of the event.
The second block of this seminar showcased the conservation experiences in the Los Ríos region, both in the state administered protected areas of CONAF (Coastal Alerce National Park and Mocho-Choshuenco National Reserve), as well as private initiatives: the Valdivian Coastal Reserve (TNC / BHP Billiton), the Oncol Forest Park (ARAUCO), Fundo Llancahue (UACh), Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve and Protected Area Raulintal National Reserve, among others.
“When we committed to ensure the permanent conservation of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, we did so to perpetually guarantee the conservation of an extremely valuable ecosystem for Chile and the world, which offers significant and lasting benefits to the environment.
We also wanted to contribute to the implementation of the first Chilean carbon project under certain environmental standards, which has already been realized”, says Rodolfo Camacho, Environmental Manager at BHP Billiton.
Arauco representative Marcela Wulf comments that the seminar is a valuable opportunity to discuss and transmit the enormous challenges of conservation from the private-public point of view, which, for the company, is translated in part through the work at Oncol Forest Park.
“Arauco determined that the Valdivian Oncol Forest, a territory of more than 3 thousand hectares, is a High Conservation Value Area.
In order to protect its biodiversity, a territorial linkage program was created in a participatory manner together with the local communities and experts, defining research objectives, monitoring, environmental education and ties with the surrounding communities.
Today, Oncol actively participates in public-private socio-environmental-, cultural- and productive initiatives. This is how we aim to ensure that conservation becomes a shared goal and a development opportunity for the local communities”, she states.
Finally, the meeting analyzed the various experiences of local development in communities surrounding protected areas.
The cases presented included, the collaboration of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy and supported by BHP Billiton, with the Alerce Costero National Park, the relationship between Oncol Forest Park and its local communities, the community participation project developed by the Forest Institute (INFOR) with the Panguipulli Model Forest Initiative, and the community development program at the Rio Cruces Wetland Community.
“The participation of the surrounding communities in a protected area is key to the conservation of biodiversity.
The people and their ancestors make and have made use of the resources that the environment provides and are the ones who best know their environment and its needs.
This is why The Nature Conservancy considers the contribution of the protected area to local- and regional well-being as one of its key objectives.
We promote and stimulate the responsible and sustainable use of the natural resources in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve and its buffer areas.
It is our priority to contribute to the well-being of the local communities, facilitating the use of the ecosystem services it generates”, says Liliana Pezoa, Nature Conservancy Conservation Coordinator.