The county of Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) in Tierra del Fuego, extreme south of Chile, including the Alberto de Agostini National Park was declared this week biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization, UNESCO.
This is the first time a reserve of this kind in Chile includes maritime and populated areas, in this case Puerto Williams and Puerto Toro.
Marcos Cordero, Regional Director of the National Forestry Corporation, Conaf, revealed that the area of the two parks, now biosphere reserve, Cape Horn and Alberto de Agostini, total 4,9 million hectares, three maritime and 1,9 million land.
Chile already had seven other Unesco named biosphere reserves, distributed in the long striped Chilean territory, including the well known Torres del Paine Park.
With the latest incorporation, Chile's biosphere reserves cover an area of 7,3 million hectares.
Biosphere Reserves are places recognized under Unesco's Man and Biosphere Program MAB where local communities are actively involved in governance and management, research, education, training and monitoring, promoting both socio-economic development and biodiversity conservation.
Unesco describes Cabo de Hornos Biosphere Reserve as the first nominated in Chile in more than 20 years, located in the south next to Cape Horn, comprising marine areas, islands and forested coast. It has very low population pressure but major potential for tourism.
Cape Horn and Chilean Antarctic province governor Eduardo Barros said that Unesco's decision recognizes the region's long term efforts to develop sustainable tourism in the extreme south of Chile a unique area with the most austral forestry ecosystem in the world and with the most southern pre-columbine indigenous population.