Patagonia Project: Corcovado, TicToc, Melimoyu Protected Areas Network
Why Western Patagonia?
Located in the southern tip of the American continent, between parallel 41 southern latitude and the southernmost tip of Chile, western Patagonia is one of the most important places worldwide for the protection of nature. One of the largest evergreen native forest reserves in the world, with ancient species such as the larch (which lives up to 4,000 years), and a surprising and abundant marine biodiversity, composed of species such as the blue whale (the largest animal that ever lived on our planet), the Chilean dolphin, cold water corals, Magellan penguins, as well as, many other seabirds and species of economically valuable plants and animals, such as algae forests, hakes, sea urchins and cods.
Its dismembered geography with high mountains, volcanoes, ice fields, torrential rivers, ancient green forests, fjords, canals and thousands of islands represent a third of Chile’s continental national territory, 25 million hectares, with a human population of approximately 300,000.
Its territory is the size of all of Great Britain but very sparsely populated, concentrated mostly in two regional capital cities, Coyhaique and Punta Arena. The rest of the population is spread along 80,000 km of coastline (considering the perimeter of the islands, fjords and canals). It remains similar to what it was like in the pre-Columbian era. In short, it is a very difficult territory for humans to live in and this largely explains its good state of conservation.
In the last two centuries, all the national productive projects that have been attempted in Patagonia have failed: livestock, forestry, and mining. National parks and protected areas are the ideas best adapted to the characteristics of the place. Tourism today is the best option that interprets its inhabitants and currently represents a development strategy based on conservation.
Our project is located northwest of Western Patagonia in the provinces of Cisnes and Palena and contains an area of 1 million hectares of land and sea that include Melimoyu National Park, Corcovado National Park, Pitipalena-Añihué Marine Protected Area and the Tictoc Marine Park. All of the above were initiatives promoted by our foundation.
FM’s presence in Western Patagonia is longstanding. Twenty-five years ago, when the Melimoyu Foundation was established, we presented to the Chilean government the proposal to create the Melimoyu National Park, on the summit and slopes of the Melimoyu volcano, which gave our Foundation its name. This initiative, approved 25 years later, was the first request to create a national park submitted by a non-governmental organization in our country; Until that date all protected areas all resulted from State initiative.
Our task for the next 3 years is to ensure that the decree creating the Tictoc Marine Park, signed by the president and his ministers in February 2014, is published in the Official Gazette and expand this marine park to the coast in front of the Corcovado National Park. In addition, we need to provide the 4 terrestrial and marine protected areas that we have created with effective protection by providing them with management and administration plans with their own research, environmental education, training, restoration, monitoring, financing and governance programs.
We are doing this work through a Collaboration Agreement with the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) of the Ministry of Agriculture, which administers the National System of Terrestrial Protected Areas of the State; and participating in different working groups at different levels with the Undersecretariat of Fisheries of the Ministry of Economy,managing Marine Parks and Reserves; the Ministry of Environment managing Multiple Use Coastal Marine Protected Areas, and the Regional and Community Governments.