And local:

  1. Absence of soil.

  2. Need to integrate in restoration the rapid climate change due to fast and accelerating melting of the ice field and resulting dangers, such as increased fire risk.

  3. Exposure to the surrounding areas (e.g. damage from cows in the neighbouring national park Laguna San Rafael; invasive species; mass tourism).

  4. Facing alone negative attitudes towards land protection and nature restoration.

  5. Widespread ecological amnesia, refusal to acknowledge the degraded state of the ecosystem, crisis of baselines.

  6. No protection as a nature restoration project, however really needed for the regional destroyed ecosystem, and fight to be recognised.

  7. Local institutional climate: virtually no recognition of the disastrous effects of colonisation on local nature; absence of support by local and regional institutions of non-commercial restoration or reforestation; absence of acknowledgement of the value of soil and nature restoration; unconditional support of uncontrolled mass “adventure” tourism; local bonuses for counter-restorative practices such as cattle overgrazing (including in national parks), export of sphagnum from wetlands, local subsidies for clearing of the forests for livestock; low level of law enforcement; tolerance of illegal logging; absence of safeguards from the expanding phenomenon of “grants hunters”.

The rewards of nature restoration

Barriers to ecological restoration


                                        “Restoration” : the act or process of returning something to its original condition by

                                         repairing it, cleaning it, etc.; the act of bringing back something that existed before ;

                                         the act of returning something that was stolen or taken.

                                          2023: EU strikes landmark deal on law to restore and protect nature


                                            Institutional definitions under the 2021-2030 UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration :

                                    “Ecosystem restoration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed, as well as conserving the ecosystems that are still intact”;

SER (Society for ecological restoration): “Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed”, International principles and standards for the practice of ecological restoration.

“Ecological restoration is an intentional activity that initiates or accelerates the recovery of an ecosystem with respect to its health, integrity and sustainability. Restoration attempts to return an ecosystem to its historic trajectory. Restoration represents an indefinitely long-term commitment of land and resources, and a proposal to restore an ecosystem requires thoughtful deliberation.”

By the State Forest Enterprise, Finland: “Aim is to bring back some of the structures and processes typical of natural ecosystems but lost due to human activity”.

An Urgent Call for a New Relationship with Nature

Principles guiding the decade

The reality of the land:

The conditions in the area of the valley Leones, Aysen, and the experience indicate that it’s obvious that the restoration of the natural biotopes to their pre-anthropogenic destruction state is not possible, due to the catastrophic degradation of the primary forest, continued imposed anthropogenic stresses (overgrazing, tourism, pollution, institutional and social rejection of the necessity of nature restoration) and absence of information on the pre-megafires ecosystems. Like it’s not possible to return millions of tonnes of soil back onto the hills or transform the human-made inert matter (in this case: empty natural spaces, or “great scenery and landscapes for adventure tourism”) back into living nature or biomass.

The project being private, it’s not supported by any external source and relies only on its own resources, experience, philosophy. What led to the development of its own area-specific and experience-based goals, criteria, relevant strategies and acceptable principles, own vision and way of giving space and time to nature.

Restoration does not give immediate results, it takes decades or centuries to see the advantages.

Glacier grief    

Vision 2036, 30 years of the project:

By 2036 the glacier Leones would have ceased to exist, the ice field will not exercise the same influence due to its very fast melting and mining of ice, the road in the valley would have completely disappeared to prevent further harm. The climate, the abiotic part of the ecosystem and the hydric situation will be different from the actual ones. With this in mind, the novel ecosystem and its new and evolving biotopes would, nevertheless, be resilient, autonomous and functional.  The habitat of the oldest species of the area: bats (50 millions years old and one of evolution’s greatest puzzles) would have been restored. It means regenerating natural native forest biotopes as close as possible to the pre-megafires forest, restoring wetlands and other valuable habitats, restarting and protecting autoregulated natural processes in all biotopes in order to pass the intelligence, wisdom and miracle of the natural evolution to the future generations of all species, those who will remain to be part of the adventure of life on Earth.

2036: A newborn bat has all chances to live a decent life,

in an adequate habitat, with enough food resources, communicating

with its species globally. People living around do not bother it as they

have enough live soil to grow their food and enough respect for all forms of life.


The guiding rules to achieve the above would be:

  1. First: restore our relation to living Nature and its land.

  2. Do not harm, do not deteriorate further, for example,

   avoid damage to nature from climate policy.

  1. Learn from Nature, respond to its needs and cooperate with it,

   Nature being the main stakeholder. Adapt to nature while healing it,                          

   do not try to adapt it to us. “Nature knows best” (third principle of ecology).

  1. Keep focus.                    Natura parendo vincitur

  2. Pichimahuida principle.

  3. Monetising nature does not protect it.

  4. Long-term commitment and accountability are key factors.

  5. Restoration is an investment, not a cost.

  6. Additionality is essential.

  7. Support the legal principle of ecological restoration.

  8. No detailed planning.                               

  9. Experience-based restoration.

10 guiding principles in campaign to revive the Earth

  1. Focus on restoring the forest cover and its ecological flow.

  2. Privilege passive restoration (natural regeneration) of the biotopes.

  3. Add complexity to the processes, restore not only the essence but also the composition and interlinkages.

  4. Focus on micro-evolution, with a view of macro-evolution. Integrated approach, what affects one affects all.

  5. Restore the self-regulating, auto-recovery, recuperation and adaptation capacities and potential of the network

  of biotopes, in order to adapt them to the increasing positive feedback of the ecosystems.

  1. Set long-term evolving and flexible goals: nature needs time, not only space.

  2. Ensure long-term legal and operational protection of the restored land, long-term accountability in restoration

  is a key factor.

  1. Avoid relying on scientific proof, ecological restoration is a science of crisis.

  2. Use techniques that have demonstrated proven results.

  1. Principle of reparation: assume responsibility for the anthropogenic destruction and for the future of the live beings in the restoration.

  2. Restoring to the future: there is no alternative for that approach, as there is no information on the pre-exiting ecosystem from original peoples (no original peoples left in the area), no information on local animal or insect species that might have disappeared. Only recent drastic destructions can orient in what can be recreated (with the exception of soil).

The area-based strategies:

  1. Main: Change of land use away from agriculture to nature protection.

  2. Protection from immediate stresses: removal of cattle, protecting sensitive areas, stabilising eroding areas,

  channelling visitors.

  1. Large-scale reforestation with native trees.

  2. Natural regrowth is ensured by protection.

  3. Wetlands restoration.

  4. Control of invasives (too late to eliminate).

  5. Replacement of the supporting infrastructure by the one based on renewables.

  6. Arrangements for present and future land protection, in particular legal.

  7. Research in past and present ecosystems and land degradation and restoration patterns.

  8. Anticipation of abrupt changes of climate in the area, due to the predicted sudden and soon glaciers melting

  in the region

Agricultural Land Abandonment as a Global Land-Use Change Phenomenon

Detailed in: Active restoration; Reforestation; Passive restoration; Effectiveness evaluation.

Nature restoration

Ownership of land is a responsibility for the land you are trusted with


  1. Passive

  2. Reforestation

  3. Active

  4. Evaluation

  5. Models

Strategies for the personal component:

  1. Study well the history of land and nature degradation in the area.

  2. Get involved in international activities on the issue, in the era of globalisation look for allies globally.

  3. Impose behaviour respectable of Nature in your land, the attitude will follow.

  4. Protect your own way to give space to nature and your right to it.

  5. Include evolutive flexibility in all strategies.

“You can never step into the same river, for new waters are always flowing on you”, Heraclitus.

  1. Keep focus on hard but inevitable choices;

  2. Focus on vision not a specific target;

  3. Do not join mass promotional reforestation campaigns.

  4. Apply holistic approach to restoration - there is no option for it in private restoration.

  5. Use private property rights to protect personal values in restoration.

Those led to the main Achievements:

  1. Good recovery of a functional novel natural ecosystem, successful forest and other biotopes restoration.

  2. Largest project under the national law on native forest in the region with a high survival rate of trees, largest officially

  registered PPA in the area.

  1.   Restoration of the habitat and recorded return of endangered (huemul, puma, other) and migratory bird species.

  2. Wetlands and peat bogs revival.

  3. Effective erosion control.

  4. Effective control of some invasives, elimination of other.

  5. Patchwork of carbon capture and compensation opportunities.

  6. Mitigation of climate change effects in the valley, present and future.

  7. Effective protection of nature restorative measures.

  8. Improved quality of land.

Some lessons learnt:

  1. Absence of a clear long-term vision undermines the development of adequate strategies.

  2. Prioritising is important for the effectiveness of restoration.

  3. Sometimes the ecosystem just does not respond.

  4. Avoid using baselines: global crisis of shifting baselines.

  5. Avoid use of some common to the institutional approach concepts, such as “ecosystem services” or  “biodiversity”,

   as an objective.

  1. Reference ecosystems are not too important in the era of rapid climate change.

  2. Recording restorative actions and their effectiveness from the start is important.

  3. Building access roads undermine restoration efforts.

  4. Ecological restoration science is not interested in the long-term application of their findings, neither in the practical

   use of their studies, nature restoration science does not exist yet.

  1. Relations with scientific world are ambiguous, with no benefits for the area, more science does not help.

  2. Nature restoration projects under private and personal ownership have higher success rates.

  3. Private land has a good potential for “Restoration to the future”, a good potential for long-term survival (essential),

  as compared to actual short-term policy planning.

  1. Private restoration projects bear personal responsibility for the quality of soil and nature they pass to the future generations.

  2. Dangers from unauthorised tourism and scientific intrusion both not observing necessary legal requirements.

Challenges for private restoration:

  1. Little (if any) recognition of private (by private landowners) nature restoration efforts, achievements  (quite significant

  sometimes) are largely underestimated, ignored or misrepresented by the restoration community.

  1. Private actors in restoration are excluded from funding opportunities and other support arrangements.

  2. No real support for private restoration projects on national level, no tax benefits or logistic support.

  3. Difficult to access compensation and carbon offsets markets.

  4. Clustered together with other non State-run actors as “privately” protected areas by relevant national and international


  1. Absence of tools for private landowners for direct information exchange on restoration issues.

  2. Ecological restoration science would not cooperate with private restoration practitioners.

  3. Seminars, conferences, etc. are dominated by scientists and consultants, not practitioners landowners.

One of the means of creating a more robust methodology for ecological restoration

involves reducing the gap between ecological theory and restoration practices.


  1. Objective

  2. Legal

  3. Lessons

  4. Collaboration

  5. Publications

  6. Friends

Giving space and time to Nature