Vast landscapes, remote location, awesome beauty: Patagonia feels wild, but much of this region is no longer pristine wilderness. The history of degradation offers us an opportunity for renewal: working alongside nature’s own healing power, we can help restore health and balance to these inspiring landscapes. Wildlife once on the brink of extinction can thrive, benefitting from revived habitat and a full range of native species.
Formerly one of Chile’s largest sheep estancias, the Chacabuco Valley—the heart of the Patagonia National Park project—has become a grand experiment in ecosystem restoration. How do you transform a beat-up sheep ranch into a vibrant protected area?
When Conservacion Patagonica purchased this property in 2004, grasslands were degraded and native species crowded out. Less than a decade later, the valley’s transformation has neighbors marveling: once-bare meadows are greening, and previously marginalized herds of guanacos gallop around the park. These grasslands, which may be host to some of the highest floral biodiversity on the planet are bursting with the sights, smells and sounds of a healthy, thriving ecosystem. This change has taken years of work, and plenty more challenges lie ahead to see the full rewilding of this landscape.
Our efforts can be divided into three major program areas, which are explored in greater length in the following pages: habitat restoration, recovering threatened species, and protecting biodiversity.