Torres del Paine Biosphere Reserve: challenges of a new territory

14/08/2020
15 - Life on Land

The Torres del Paine Biosphere Reserve covers more than 770,000 hectares, between the Andes Mountains and the Patagonian Steppe in southern Chile, facing the Atlantic coast. It is an area of great scenic beauty, with many ridges, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, turquoise lakes and lagoons, which receives more than 115,000 visitors a year. It faces increasingly complex challenges as a result of the rising flow of visitors to the region, added to the effects of climate change, such as the risks of forest fires and degradation.

A new book analyzes the challenges faced by the biosphere reserve, just over 40 years since UNESCO recognized Torres del Paine National Park as a Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and following its expansion to adapt to the new criteria promoted by the Organization, which was approved a few months ago. The National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) in Magallanes, Chile launched "Reserva de Biosfera Torres del Paine: Desafíos de un nuevo territorio" (pdf, in Spanish) on 12 August 2020.

The task continues, and the challenges do not stop. Now we must demonstrate that we are capable not only of fulfilling, but also of maintaining the Conservation, Development and Logistical Support functions that will promote the sustainable development of this territory, in addition to being essential to continue our participation in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

José Fernández Dübrock, President of the Torres del Paine Biosphere Reserve Management Committee

The launch of the book was attended by the Intendant of the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region, José Fernández Dübrock, the CONAF regional director, Mauricio Véjar, as well as many representatives of local authorities and public and private organizations, highlighting the importance of having a Biosphere Reserve in the territory and the essential work that is being carried out in this area.

Irene Ramírez, coordinator of the Torres del Paine Biosphere Reserve, presented background information on what the expansion of this territory as a biosphere reserve meant and the current challenges. She also explained the main contents of the book, which was financed by the regional government of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.

We are very grateful to be immersed in such a special territory. Its unique climate and fauna, added to its majestic landscapes, make this a place we should all be proud to belong to. It also implies a great responsibility, and all of its inhabitants must become part of its protection, adopting the necessary measures to avoid disasters and preserve this place

Raúl Suazo Mardones, Governor of the Province of Ultima Esperanza