Conservation of private lands for the protection of the Huemul in Central Chile

Varia Dellacasa

The Nevados de Chillan, an area spanning 560,000 hectares in Central Chile, contains the northernmost population of Huemul deer and is a globally recognized priority site for biodiversity conservation. The team has chosen a focus area of approximately 120,000 hectares. The selected area--a strip of land between the Ñuble and Chillan Rivers--is a microcosm of the conflicts and possibilities found in the landscape as a whole, for it includes a private and a public reserve, permanently protected areas owned by a forestry company, and a variety of individual private landowners. This initiative will evaluate the potential risks to the Huemul and, consequently, the rest of the area’s biodiversity. The highest risk is from economic activities on private lands, specifically development, livestock raising and logging. The project will focus on scientific field research, the establishment of relationships with landowners in the region, and a local education and awareness campaign. The results of these three main objectives will be used to realize the fourth and ultimate objective--a Conservation Action Plan for the focal area.