Private-conservation push broadens in Chile
Like many before him, Warren Adams, a former director of product development for Amazon.com, was seduced by the beauty of the rugged landscape of Patagonia when he visited the region in 2000.
Out of that connection, however, grew something uncommon. In 2006, Adams led the formation of Patagonia Sur, a for-profit organization that buys ecologically important land in the region with the goal of establishing enterprises that put the properties to profitable use while ensuring their conservation.
So far, Patagonia Sur has purchased 27,000 hectares (67,000 acres) on six properties in Chilean Patagonia, and begun developing plans for business activities including ecotourism, carbon sequestration and some sales of conserved land. Says Adams: “Our goal is to have billions of dollars of capital in Chile and hopefully in other places of the world to buy huge plots of land, hire the locals, employ the locals… [and convert the areas] into a sustainable economy.”
Though unique in Chile, Patagonia Sur’s for-profit park model forms part of a broader private-conservation movement now gaining traction in the country.