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.