The nearly 430 permanent park rangers at Chile’s Forest Service and Protected Areas Agency (CONAF) play a crucial role in conservation. They implement strategies to protect biodiversity in Chile’s 46 million-acre National System of Protected Wild Areas (SNASPE)—86.5% of which is located in Patagonia. The rangers also serve as a bridge between the community and the environment by helping to conserve protected areas’ natural and cultural heritage.
But to sustain SNASPE and park rangers’ crucial work throughout the country, CONAF must have the resources necessary to train and develop the personnel who oversee this wide swath of protected areas.
From late 2020 through the first half of 2021, CONAF and The Pew Charitable Trusts worked with consultants to develop three courses for 90 park rangers. Each course was limited to 30 attendees, and each ranger took one of the three trainings designed to help SNASPE managers hone key skills while highlighting rangers’ central role in working with local communities to promote conservation.
The courses focused on analyzing CONAF’s international, national, and internal regulations for managing protected areas; examining conflicts in the protected areas and finding ways to resolve them; honing interpersonal and communications skills to help manage agreements on how protected areas are used; and encouraging public participation in managing these areas. In addition, the courses covered planning for protected areas using the widely adopted Conservation Standards best practices and methodology, which emphasizes identifying biodiversity and human well-being targets and their respective threats, as well as defining strategies and zoning to reduce threats and determine regulatory restrictions to different activities.
Through these workshops and broader collaboration with CONAF, Pew’s Chilean Patagonia project has helped train park rangers and other CONAF employees to continue caring for and sustainably managing ecosystems today and for decades to come in support of the country’s development.
Maximiliano Sepúlveda works on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Chilean Patagonia project.