San Pedro River Valley, Chile

Challenges · Livelihoods · Livestock and Pasture

Landscape Profile

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San Pedro River Valley, Chile

Approximate size (hectares)

20,000

Population

5,000

Climate

Temperate Oceanic

Production Systems

Livestock

Description

The San Pedro river valley landscape is located in the Valdivian temperate forest ecoregion of southern Chile, administratively corresponding to comunas Máfil and Los Lagos of the region Los Ríos. Pastures and traditional agricultural crops are the predominant land uses, accounting for 41% of the total area, followed by natural forests in different stages of development which accounts for another 40% of the surface. In the remaining 20%, forest plantations dominate with 15%, scrubland 2%, and waterways 1%. Productive activity focuses on extensive livestock for meat and milk, annual grain crops, and small fruit crops. Tourism is a growing sector, linked to the area’s natural and cultural heritage. Despite historical Mapuche occupation, early 1960s land reform gave these plots to small and medium landowners. Currently, the area is divided into large properties of more than 500 ha. The population is dispersed, with many small rural towns each with less than 50 inhabitants.

Voices From The Field

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I am an environmental biologist specializing in rural development, with over ten years of experience in conservation and local development in protected areas. Initially trained in landscape ecology and natural resource management at the Autonomous University of Madrid, I have been working with the European Federation of Nature and National Parks, allowing me to see firsthand management models for conservation landscapes (IUCN category V). Subsequently, I transferred this experience to Chile, enriching their capacity in areas such as agricultural economics, rural sociology and anthropology. Over a period of 10 years, I have worked with various NGOs to develop conservation projects based on participatory methods. Since 2003, I have assumed coordination of the Corridor Costa Andes consortium, leading the proposal finally implemented for the SIRAP GEF project. I currently coordinate the municipal technical team in charge of administration of the landscape.

Alberto Tacón Clavaín Technical Coordinator, Asociación de Municipalidades del Valle del rio San Pedro

Major Successes

1

Development Council on Landscape Conservation

This initiative stems from the articulation between different social actors, among them local and international conservation organizations, universities, the public sector and landowners. During the period 2001-2003, the landscape was identified as an area of high value to maintain as a significant portion of forest in the central valley of Chile, which keeps the ecological connectivity between the coastal range and the Andes of southern Chile. This area became known as Corridor Costa Andes. A consortium of organizations promoted research and protection of the ecological corridor until 2005, when the initiative was included in the design of a GEF project focused on the development of a regional system of protected areas as a model for landscape conservation (IUCN category V).

 

Between 2008 and 2013, under the GEF project Regional Protected Areas System (SIRAP) of the Ministry of Environment, a work program that included the development of a governance model, the establishment of a network of pilot sites, and awareness-raising activities with the local population. During this period, municipalities in Los Lagos and Máfil, with support from the Ministry of Environment (MMA), created an association of municipalities to protect the San Pedro River Valley landscape: the Development Council on Landscape Conservation. This organization engages and brings together more than 25 institutions or public-private organizations. The municipalities are currently leading the development of this initiative, implementing a project with funds from the Regional Government of Los Ríos, which has hired a technical team responsible for developing capacities for landscape management.

Working Together

The Development Council on Landscape Conservation (El Consejo de Desarrollo del Paisaje de Conservación) is an organization that involves and links more than 25 public and private institutions and organizations. The Development Council represents the visible landscape governance institutions, acting with a manager and technical team hired by the municipalities of Los Lagos and Máfil, those maintaining Municipal Technical Offices. The council depends administratively on the Association of Municipalities, and works closely with SEREMI in the Ministry of Environment.

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