Biosphere Reserves in Chile

Glaciar San rafael. Reserva Mundial de la Biósfera. Foto: Flickr/andre-guinness

Several sites in Chile have been named Biosphere Reserves. The first two accepted in 1977 – one year after the first list of Biosphere Reserves was put together – included Fray Jorge, the national park located in the Coquimbo Region; and the Juan Fernandez archipelago, under the jurisdiction of the Valparaiso Region.

In 2009, the La Campana Reserve was expanded to 14 times its original size, from 17,000 ha to 238,000 ha, and in 2010, the expansion proposal was approved for the “Araucarias” Biosphere Reserve, which expanded to twelve times its size. The main objective of this expansion is to achieve a sustainable balance between the conservation of biological diversity, the promotion of economic development and the preservation of the cultural values of the Mapuche community, largely settled in the transition zone of the reserve.

The most recent reserve was named in 2011: the Nevados de Chillán Biological Corridor, located in the Bio-Bio Region.

Year Reserve Name Hectares Observations More information
1977 Fray Jorge (Coquimbo region) 9,959 ha Located in a coastal sector close to the Pacific Ocean, it has an extraordinary biodiversity that is visited by tourists all year long. There are 440 species of native flora, of which 266 are endemic to Chile, 10 are endangered and 84 are vulnerable species. More
1977 Juan Fernandez (Valparaíso region) 9.967 ha This reserve includes the whole archipelago of islands with the islands of Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara and all the islets in the area. The archipelago is volcanic in origin, with steep, rugged mountain ranges with deep ravines. There is heritage tourism, artisanal fishing, among other human activities. More
1978 Torres del Paine (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region) 184,414 ha Torres del Paine lies between the Andes Mountains and the Patagonian Steppe in southern Chile giving on to the Atlantic coast. It is an area of great scenic beauty, with many ridges, crags, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and lagoons. It has a wide variety of tourist services, such as hotels, restaurants, transport and recreation. More
1978 Laguna San Rafael (Aysen region) 1,742,000 ha An area of varied topography and great scenic beauty. It includes the Continental Patagonian Range with rivers and lakes, the Insular Patagonian Range, the Central Plain and the Patagonian Glaciers. More
1983 Araucarias (Araucanía region) 1.140.000 ha It has great temperature swings in the summer, with rain and snow. Recreational activities include excursions, fishing, swimming and skiing. There is environmental education with trail zones and environmental information centres. It is home to the araucaria, a tree of great ethno-botanical value. More
1984 Lauca (Arica y Parinacota region) 358,312 ha Located in the northern part of Chile, in the Andean mountain range, it is comprised of Aymara indigenous settlements that raise domestic camelids (llamas and alpacas). More
1984 La Campana- Peñuelas (Valparaíso region) 238.000 ha It includes the La Campana National Park and the Peñuelas Lake National Reserve. It is home to the Chilean palm species, wetlands, recreational human activities and ecological education. More
2005 Cape Horn (Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Region) 4.884.273 has A unique sub-Antarctic ecosystem that constitutes a mosaic of contrasts. The main activities performed here are livestock farming, artisanal fishing and navigation tourism around the channels in the area. More
2007 Valdivian Temperate Rainforest (Los Lagos and Los Ríos Regions) 2.168.956 ha This corresponds to a section of the Valdivian region which is rich in ecological mosaics. Among human activities include ecotourism, rural tourism, fishing, livestock farming, agriculture, forestry management and aquaculture. More
2011 Nevados de Chillán Biological Corridor (Bio-Bio Region) 565.807 ha Located in the northern part of the Patagonia, within the central zone of Chile, it is a site of rich biodiversity. It is also characterised by the abundance of endemic species. More
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