Conservation initiative for the upper end of the Aconcagua basin

Parque Andino Juncal (PAJ) is a 13.796 ha private protected area located in the south-east border of the Valparaiso Region. Most of the glaciers in this reserve, with their corresponding hydrological systems, are the source of the Aconcagua watershed. In May of 2010, this reserve was declared as the 12th protected site by the International Convention on Wetlands Ramsar in Chile. PAJ thus became the first private protected reserve to be awarded a Ramsar denomination in Latin America, and the only reserve that preserves high Andean wetlands in Central Chile.

We work hand in hand with the land owners, traditional shepherds, local and international organizations to develop a mountain research center in Parque Andino Juncal. This field-based mountain lab will focus on research of Andean ecosystems, as well as on the cultural dimensions and human relationships of the Andes mountain range.

Our goal is to empower the commmunities of this mountain basin throug reaseach and education related to conservation, ecological restoration and climate change adaptation. Furthermore, as secondary goal we seek to bring the local communities and the land owners closer together to facilitate a harmonious and symbiotic relationship in order to secure the continuity and sustainability of Parque Andino Juncal.




Pirque is the second largest district of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, after the neighboring San José de Maipo district. Both districts are home to the Maipo River, the largest watershed of the region which directly nourishes Santiago, the most populated city in Chile.

Despite the urban development of neighboring Santiago, Pirque is still considered a rural district. 80% of its territory is constituted by mountains and valleys located at the southern end of the Santiago area.

This district harbors a wide variety of well-preserved ecosystems and an astonishing biodiversity. In fact, its landscape is part of a biodiversity hotspot known as “Mediterranean Ecoregion from Central Chile” (Myers 2009). This hotspot is home to important ecological communities, such as relics of Cordilleran Cypress (Austrocedrus chilensis) near mountain tops or ravines with dense Canelo (Drymis winterii) and Lingue (Persea lingue) forests.

Furthermore, Pirque is surrounded by green mountains, which harbor ecologically critical sclerophyll forests. The conservation of these ecosystem types is essential since they constitute a fragile net of ecological corridors for a myriad of species and their natural beauty has an immeasurable value for people.

The Parque Pirque Project is supporting the process of converting the existing Río Clarillo National Reserva into the first National Park of the Metropolitan Region of Santiago. To this end it is necessary to include the surrounding private protected areas into the design of the future park. In this way, the project aims to create a new conservation model in Chile that combines public and private lands in order to protect this natural treasure, thus making it available for the future generations.




Club Andino Pirque (CAP) is a community nonprofit organization from Pirque district.

The main objective of the organization is to promote the development of sports and mountain activities in Pirque and its surroundings, as a tool for the effective protection of the natural heritage of the district. (

A central axis to develop this objective is the environmental education. With the understanding of environmental education as an approach to the cultural change of ending with anthropocentric behaviors and start with the interaction and understanding of the importance of our environment and the raising the awareness and sensitizing people to really get effective change.

Club Andino Pirque aims to work with the community of the Cordillera Province, mainly with children and young people, based on environmental education activities and personal development that strengthen the relationship with the natural environment, recognizing their components and valuing the benefits deliver us.

We work directly with this organization to promote their environmental education activities outdoor and mountain sports in Pirque, supporting their initiatives as a platform to raise funds and capacities for the success of its objetives.

Our goal is to support the continuity of the environmental outdoor education programs that Club Andino Pirque has developed for 7 years in the Cordillera province of the Metropolitan Region.




The guanaco is a native wild camelid from South America.

This project aims at the conservation of guanacos in the mountains of the Valparaiso Region and Metropolitan Region. This emblematic native specie of the Andes is threatened in both regions despite the efforts of study and protection still their condition is delicate, mainly due to poaching that persists.

In recent years have created new opportunities for the viability of their populations, in particular we refer to new private protected areas that have emerged in the central mountains of Chile, thanks to these areas there is a new possibility for the populations of guanaco that in recent years have been increasing thanks to conservation efforts and management measures for that purpose.

We are working as an NGO in a bi-national initiative to preserve the guanaco in the Chilean and Argentine protected areas in this part of the mountain range, developing awareness of the situation of the Guanaco in these regions and generate information that will help in their efforts to conservation, working with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, communities and owners of the Argentine and Chilean mountain range areas.

Our plan is to raise territorial necessary information through censuses and geographical on both sides of the mountain chain for understand the dynamics of this species and thus efficiently target conservation and management measures.

Today we are coordinated with conservation organizations in Mendoza, Argentina academics and owners of Chilean andean areas of the Valleys of Maipo and Aconcagua to begin our plan late in 2015.