Note: This article was updated on January 21, 2020, to improve the headline’s clarity.
To fully understand that Patagonia is more than a collection of remarkable natural landscapes, one must recognize the heterogeneity not only of the territory but also of its inhabitants—their ancestors, culture, urgencies, and dreams for the future.
In this video, which focuses on only a small fraction of the more than 266,000 square kilometers (103,000 square miles) that make up Chilean Patagonia—an area the size of New Zealand—five locals take viewers into the heart of the region to show its natural wonders and their importance to residents, visitors, wildlife, and the regional economy. The video also highlights The Pew Charitable Trusts' work in one of Earth’s last great pristine natural places.
Pew supports its partners in their efforts to improve protection standards in Chilean Patagonia and the processes of creating protected areas, especially those driven by local initiatives and backed by scientific evidence showing the value of enacting safeguards. For years, local communities have recognized the urgency and need to protect their land and marine heritage. For example, the community of Chaitén, a gateway to Pumalín and Corcovado national parks, applied for designation as a Coastal Marine Space of Native Peoples (ECMPOS). That designation would include respecting and preserving cultural uses of the sea, collaboration with scientists in identifying areas and species for conservation—such as blue whales, huiro forests, dolphins, and coastal wetlands—and application of what are known as open conservation standards, which allow local governments and their partners to adapt protection methods to changing needs in the community.
Pew continues to provide scientific and technical skills and knowledge to the protected area planning process led by the Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), which oversees Chile’s national parks and reserves, including the Kawésqar National Park and National Reserve. Clearly defined management plans are vital to help ensure long-term sustainable use of protected areas. For example, having a well-designed marine park—and the basic resources for its implementation—is critical to effective conservation of the natural and cultural values of protected areas.
We hope that this video shows not only the beauty and natural value of Patagonia but also the diversity and desires of its people, who are working for a better future.
Francisco Solís Germani directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ work in Chile’s Patagonia region.