Main objectives of the project:

I. The question heard most often: “Why are you here ?”: - “Because we felt sorry for the land when we first met it”. The first, immediate and essential objective was to give a better life to the land, return the land to wilderness, extract it from the destructive overuse to which it was abandoned, allow Nature develop according to its own laws, protecting it from human induced-stress, helping it with interventions like large scale reforestation with native trees, control of invasive species and other, and orienting the management towards its needs and priorities.

II. The land was bought because it was destroyed and deserved a better life.  As our understanding of the magnitude of the recent natural disaster deepened, the second objective became: divulge the annihilation of the land and live nature in the area, so that all lives in the wiped out primary nature are not forgotten and treated with due respect, so that the need for ecological restoration, nature healing and rehabilitation became indisputable and the responsibilities for the present ecological disasters are acknowledged.

III. As achievements, ethics and specificities of the project needed to be protected in the long term, so that the efforts are not doomed, in the absence of support and working in isolation, the need to develop a custom-fit protective programme became apparent. This programme includes lasting protective measures, first of all legal and operational, which would allow the Nature in the protected area to survive until the time when its rights are recognised as obvious, as a temporal heterotopia.

Vision: the ecosystem is as close as possible to what it was before the deliberate fires in 1939, a healthy ecosystem that does not degrade and that can evolve naturally, protected and respected, if possible in perpetuity.

Like any private project to protect Nature, this project is personal, unique and adapted to the place, time and personal skills.

Main features of the project:

Land in private property, 6 properties of approx. 1800 ha in total, managed as one (all legal provisions regulating private property apply), adjacent to the Laguna San Rafael National Park (Protected areas of the XI Region: Report).

Strict nature reserve, corresponding IUCN status: 1a “Strict Nature Reserve”, applied to a degraded area, not open to any visitors; biosphere-type restoration of nature, based on rewilding principles.

Ecosystem severely, irreversibly and rapidly destroyed by anthropogenic activities, like most of the region.

In 2006 a management project aimed at the recovery of this ecosystem was established, the management and administration of the project do not seek to obtain economic gains.

The project is entirely oriented at the values, priorities and needs of Nature, an area where nature’s rights prevail (within the limits of the locally applied legislation);

Located in a socio-institutional environment that encourages use of productive methods and policies that undermine nature protection and restoration; the project does not receive any institutional or private support.

III. Long-term protection, mainly legal protection:

Goals / actions:

Design a legal perspective to help Nature, wild plants and animals by protecting their territory for them; make legal arrangements for future protection of the place, with minimal maintenance and maximum security; privilege nature-based solutions, using natural law and organic development of nature, in particular for reforestation.

Emphasise the right to responsibility for land and live nature, treating it as a privilege, and to make necessary arrangements, legal and physical; promote the responsibility for land and its non-human life.

Transform private property on land into property of Nature, acknowledge the personhood of nature and the biocenosis under protection, and the primacy of the rights of live nature within the area, making Nature the subject of law.

Continued protection from: Anthropogenic threats: recently (last 80 years) imported colonial land and cattle management practices, uncontrolled tourism (any type), intrusive investigations (scientific and other), any type of publicity, pollution, acceleration of changes; Natural threats: fire, climate change (via help to ecosystem’s move).

Continued protection for: the preservation of the potential of the evolution of living Nature; strengthening resilience of a forest ecological community; responding to needs of global issues, such as climate change; giving time to Nature to heal itself; special protection of sensitive areas; observations and experiences (observation vs. investigation); long-term survival of the project; demonstration of success of private non-institutional approach.

Address the generations that might appear in the future, after the “click” generations, which would accept the rights of nature in their legislative systems as paramount, would have a global vision of the life on Earth, and which would be able to use the lessons learned from the experience of the project, and assess the effectiveness of actions taken, for that.

Create a heterotopia, in space and time, that is likely to survive until then and protect it as such, in particular the privacy of nature in it, crucial factor for the effectiveness of the project; ensure maximum invisibility to the project and nature in it.

Work with change, avoiding conservation = status quo.

Use as little new wood as possible, use mainly self-dead wood, so that trees are not killed or intensively bred in our name and in order to earn the right to protect the forest.


Personal commitment to long-term management.

Need to legally protect the uniqueness of the project in the long term, to become independent in the short- and long-term.

Professional knowledge of environmental law, international and comparative, as well as necessary professional managerial skills to deal with problems from a global perspective.

Locally applied Constitution permits the direct application of international law.

Good level of protection of private property in the locally applied legislation.

Feasibility of development of a spatially and legally delimited place for protection, according to the locally implemented legal system.

Ability to perform regular effectiveness evaluations, in order to allow adjustments of the project and ensure it flexibility, and thus survival.

The area is not attractive, due to the high level of anthropogenic nature degradation.


Low level of enforcement of environmental provisions in legislation.

Institutionalisation, instrumentalisation and commodification of Nature.

Local hostility to assign any personhood to nature, ecosystem, biocenosis.

Local culture of fast switches of activities and absence of accountability hampers projections into the future.

Local investments privilege cattle raising and tourism development, generating constant pressure from these businesses.

Equilibrium between the protected space and its natural and social environment is reached, but very fragile.

Some anthropogenically altered ecosystems in the area are in positive feedback.

Locking in one professional specialty of potential collaborators.

A nice way to explain the story:

rivers Leones and Claro

Experience of the

Private Protected Nature Area Pichimahuida (the Project),

a site for Nature repair and healing, and applied wilderness restoration,

located in a valley somewhere in this world

Private Protected Nature Area Pichimahuida

Усадьба Pichimahuida

We have to admit that we lost the battle for Nature protection.

Time for compromises is over.

The mass extinction of Nature is accelerating.

We can just help it to disappear decently, without suffering.


  1. Objective

  2. Legal

  3. Lessons

  4. Collaboration

  5. Publications

  6. Friends

For each objective above goals were set and actions identified:

I. Protection and restoration of land and Nature of the area:

Goals / actions :

Identify main issues of land and nature degradation and ways of addressing them.

Change of land use away from agriculture to nature protection.

Address immediate stresses: removal of cattle, protecting sensitive areas, stabilising eroding areas, channelling tourists.

Ban all types of commercial activities, such as tourism, agriculture, invasive research, etc.

Develop the largest possible recovery of the native forest, destroyed by fire in 1939, by planting native trees species in accordance to nature-based protocols, thus restoring the forest component of the original ecosystem, controlling the erosion and preventing desertification.

Develop collection of native trees seeds and native trees reproduction facility.

Set a cow-free zone: remove all cattle and ensure protection from it, proceeding with de-farming; this measure had a real positive impact on the rebound of the ecosystem.

Assess and design procedures to deal with invasives.

Assist natural regeneration, rewilding and wetland restoration.                            Rewilding Europe

Develop supporting infrastructure.

Use the area as a test ground for ecological restoration techniques and for for nature-friendly logistics in remote areas.

Focus on holistic nature protection and area-based restoration, privilege strict nature protection vs. interactive use of nature with the purpose of protection.


There was an opportunity, factual and legal, and a strong personal aspiration to protect the place.

A large-scale destroyed regional ecosystem.

No land suitable for any type of  agriculture - no competition for land use.

Need to give some land back to nature.

Knowledge and professional skills (from work in the United Nations Environment Programme, national EPA, farming environment, etc.) available to allow the development of a multidisciplinary approach to protect a piece of land under responsibility like the global ecosystem; good understanding of the global ecological problems.

Norms and practices of the local legal system with regard to private property on land.

National programme for large-scale native trees planting.

Opportunities for internships and volunteers programmes.

Adopted biosphere approach to nature protection (includes people living there, not visitors), personal recognition of the intrinsic rights of Nature and its forests.


Absence of support, institutional or financial,  of private nature-protection projects, private protected areas, either on national or international level; all allocated support goes to “privately” (by non-State legal persons) protected areas.

Cattle management practices in the neighbouring areas, including in the national park.

Absence of fire prevention and fire fighting in the valley

Limitations of financial support of native trees planting.

Local conditions:  rejection of the change of land use, tourism developing uncontrollably, nature is considered only as natural resources, no support for ecosystem restoration per se or for the restorative land use.

Local cooperation possibilities are quite limited, mainly to Conaf (National Forestry Corporation), the agency managing the national parks; international cooperation is quite helpful.

Achievements, as assessed by the project, responding to the goals and despite the challenges below:

Effective change of land use, de-farming, rebound of the natural ecosystem (novel ecosystem), privileged biotope - forest.

Successful programme of reforestation with native trees: Largest project under law 20.283 (native forest) in the area, with survival rate of approx. 85-90 %, due to nature-based planting protocols, where forest grows with dignity.

Establishment of a well operating native trees reproduction facility, based on collection of seed within the area.

Good progress in erosion control, some soil rehabilitation.

Effective protective measures put in place to prevent cattle invasions, management of invasive species.

A quiet zone for wildlife and wildlife friendly orchards, mitigating the global biodiversity crisis.

Return of endangered (huemul, puma, wild cats, bats) and migratory bird species, some protected by law; needs of local nature properly identified.

Increasing value of the biotopes, wetlands revival.

Functioning infrastructure based on renewables (housing, energy, etc.).

Functioning arrangements for channeling tourists in a valley that did have none; developed visual signposting on the terrain, reminding passing visitors of their responsibilities and the natural history of the area.

Compensation reserve, continuous rebuilt of the resilience of the biocenosis, partly restored recuperation potential.

Carbon sink as an abandoned agricultural land and natural growing forest; patchwork of carbon capture opportunities.

Programmes for volunteers and interns (the later no longer available).

High level of protection of the area, ensuring constant surveillance and development of pluridisciplinary protective methods, taking into account measures applied globally.

Numerous successful legal protection interventions and measures, including conclusion of Real Conservation Rights agreements and positively resolved legal protective cases.

Avoided any presence in social networks.

The project is flexible enough to be adapting to the environment, not the environment to the project.

➢  A case study was developed and lessons learned.

A good start to prevent the transformation of living matter into dead permanencies in the long term.

II. Highlighting the natural disaster of the first part of the XX century:

Goals / actions :

Collect, analyse and exchange information on the irreversible impairment of the local and regional ecosystem, on the tragedy of the ancient forest.

Save the lesson and use it to sustain the need for ecological restoration.

Expose damage produced by the uncontrolled access to Nature, remind that the anthropocene destroyed myriads of lives.

Promote the human right of responsibility for the land and the damage made.

Use the opportunity to return to Nature what was taken from it; healing nature for its own sake, not rebuilding natural resources; leave no trace on Earth and in the digital space.

Attenuate acceleration of the entropy of changes affecting Nature, trying to keep the momentum of ecosystems in negative feedback.


Locally promoted image of “pristine” or “wild” landscapes, while the region’s ecosystems are ones of the worst and the fastest destroyed in the world.

Existing opportunities for restoring wilderness.

Professional knowledge and skills allowing access and honest analysis of large amounts of relevant information.

Participation in information exchange networks on the issue, international and national.

The valley is a good example of the future of areas presently destroyed by climate change and other consequences of anthropogenic activities.

Need to reestablish personal responsibility for nature repair.


The valley being sold by the tourism industry as a “pristine” and “wild” area.

No memory preserved of plant and animal life in the pre-fire native forest.

Romanticising colonial and original peoples’ land management practices.

Lack of interest in local social practices and institutions to address the issue.

Continuous pressure from cattle grazing in neighbouring areas.

High proportion of invasive species of plants and animals.

Restorative efforts are mainly based on ever changing baselines, increasingly ignoring thus the original colonial destruction.