“We are very happy because years ago the situation, when the forest exploitation companies where owners of the land around here, was completely different. Few organizations are willing and ready to do what TNC has done for us through the VCR, because they put professionals at our disposal, professionals with whom we have learned and understood the importance of cattle ranching being an environment friendly activity and its importance to our small areas ” Adela Arriaza , one of the participating cattle ranchers.
May 8, 2014, Valdivian Coastal Rerserve. With the view to supporting and establishing constructive norms for cattle production activities of some dozen families inhabiting the Valdivian Coastal Reserve (VCR) areas, The Nature Conservancy prepared, together with the involved community, an agreement that would incorporate best cattle ranching practices and decrease their impact on the protected area.
After several months of joint work carried out by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) professionals and a group of cattle farmers from the villages of Chaihuín and Cadillal, the two groups signed an unprecedented agreement that will permit to improve the livestock activities historically undertaken by certain local families in some areas that are currently part of the VCR.
The importance of this agreement lies in the fact that thanks to its implementation, the income arising from the cattle ranching activates of the participating families will not be decreased and furthermore, the participating families will be able to incorporate best cattle breeding practices that will make their cattle healthier, with higher weights per animal and all the above without the necessity to increase the number of animals. At the same time, “the VCR will significantly decrease the impact caused by dairy cattle roaming freely and without any control within the areas overgrown with natural forests, and reducing the natural regeneration of these forests due to the constant and continuous grazing of such animals”, Alfredo Almonacid, Manager and Coordinator of the VCR declared.
The s agreement was reached after a strenuous and long participative process which received the technical assistance of agronomist Solange Barbet who expressed her praise for TNC to have recognized the economic needs of the community living in the surrounding areas of the Reserve and the entity´s willingness to support said community. Barbet pointed out that “after diagnosing the situation, we began to meet periodically with the group of involved families. They explained to us their needs and we also provided them with the necessary tools to handle cattle management. After several meetings, we reached an agreement that was signed by both parties. This pact establishes the rights and the duties of the parties in addition to setting the sanctions for those who infringe the regulations established thereunder. Furthermore, we also worked on and designed a long-term work plan”.
At the same time Alfredo Almonacid, in representation of The Nature Conservancy, said that “ it is to our deep satisfaction that this first stage of this initiative has been signed, since it is the embodiment of a commitment of a group of persons from the community which makes a living from cattle ranching. This agreement means that they will be more responsible with how they use their animals and also with the protection of the natural patrimony that we strive to maintain in the VCR and in Alerce Costero National Park. We know that what will come in the future will also be complex, but we hope we will be able to achieve the goals proposed in this agreement thanks to the efforts of all those involved ”.
Finally, Adela Arriaza, one of the participating cattle ranchers expressed her satisfaction with the reached agreement. “We are very happy because years ago the situation , when the forest exploitation companies where owners of the land around here, was completely different. Few organizations are willing and ready to do what TNC has done for us through the VCR, because they put professionals at our disposal, professionals with whom we have learned and understood the importance of cattle ranching being an environment friendly activity and its importance to our small areas ”, she said.
Photo by Angustina Andrade.