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Cabo de Hornos Biosphere Reserve, Chile

The Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) Biosphere Reserve represents a milestone for biodiversity conservation worldwide, as it includes an extensive area, covering the entire southern tip of Chile and the Americas, representing a treasure in terms biological and cultural diversity.
Here are the southernmost forests on the planet (55-56°S), which grow embedded in a mosaic of pristine ecosystems of tundra formations, high Andean habitats, glaciers and ice fields, Andean peaks, permanent and intermittent water courses, brown-kelp forests, fjords, channels, currents and intricate sea beds.

Designation date: 2005


Regional network:  Red de Comités y Reservas de Biosfera de Iberoamérica y el Caribe (IberoMAB) 

Ecosystem-based network:




    Surface : 4.884.274 ha (Terrestrial: 1,917,738 ha; Marine: 2,967,036 ha) 

    • Core area(s): 1.347.417,01 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 1.711.318,34 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 1.891.901,89 ha

    Location: N/A

    Administrative Authorities

    Ximena Álvarez
    Corporación Nacional Forestal CONAF
    Av. Bulnes 0309, 4° piso

    Tel.: +56 612238581

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    Ecological Characteristics

    This Biosphere Reserve is part of the Magallanes Sub-Polar (or Sub-Antarctic) Evergreen Rainforest, with a mosaic of contrasting ecosystems and unique and singular characteristics on a world level.

    The most representative type of ecosystems are: Magallanes sub-Polar Evergreen Rainforests, sub-Antarctic Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus Antarctica) forests, Deciduous Lenga Beech forests, Mixed Lenga Beech and Magallanes Nothofagus dombeyi forests.

    High Andean habitats and Magallanes tundra complex. The marine ecosystems contain a mosaic of coastal and marine areas representative of the Sub-Antarctic region, favouring its biodiversity. The Sub-Antarctic eco-region includes a very great diversity of Chilean non-vascular flora and is a hotspot for bryophyte diversity on a world level, with over three hundred hepatic species and over 450species of moss. These 750 bryophyte species represent over 5% of the bryophytes known all over the world. 

    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Cattle raising (approximately 300 heads), artisanal fishing, a source of employment for the over 350 local fisher-folk, tourism (particularly navigation through the channels and around Cape Horn). 

    During its first decade of existence, research in the Biosphere Reserve has stimulated a "change of lens" to observe, conserve and value biodiversity in the far south of America. Scientific knowledge has been transferred to society through an innovative modality of sustainable tourism that allows us to appreciate the ecological, aesthetic, economic and ethical values of the small organisms with which we co-inhabit the southern tip.



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    Last updated: June 2020