The Nature Conservancy in Chile, in conjunction with the government’s Clean Production Council, publicly launched the results of a Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Aconcagua and Maipo watersheds located in central Chile’s Mediterranean valleys.
The conference, held in October, was attended by representatives from the public and private sector, as well as from key universities and conservation non-profits.
The Conservancy’s partnership with the Clean Production Council is now serving as a national platform for working with different stakeholders in Chile --including corporations, public sector and academic entities-- to advance conservation in the Aconcagua and Maipo watershed zone.
The Aconcagua and Maipo watersheds provide millions of people with water in Chile’s capital city, Santiago, and neighboring port Valparaiso. Yet studies show that water quality and quantity in Mediterranean Chile are being impacted by a series of factors including poorly planned urban expansion, the exacerbated growth of agriculture and mining, and by weather-induced events including mud slides and shrinking glaciers in the Andes Mountains that feed cities with drinking water.
Chile’s Mediterranean covers approximately 16 % of the country’s surface and is home to thousands of native plant and animal species: It also harbors three quarters of the country’s 16 million inhabitants. With many of Chile’s principal cities, including Santiago, located within the Mediterranean region, it is where over half of the country’s national income is produced, with agriculture, the wine industry, and mining constituting major economic drivers.
Despite its key importance for nature, people and the economy, less than one percent of Chile’s Mediterranean habitat is currently under formal protection. The Conservancy has made Mediterranean Chile a top conservation priority and is working with partners to find ways to protect the rare plants and wildlife of this special area and maintain a safe, secure water supply for millions of people.