The UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, at the south tip of Chile, is named one of the 2016 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations on the planet. This international recognition is for those regions of the world that are highlighted for their biodiversity, or their efforts to offer a more environmentally respectful form of tourism.
Created in 2005, the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve is a 5 million hectares marine and terrestrial reserve that includes three national parks, Alberto Agostini, Yendegia, and Cape Horn, the southernmost national park on the planet.
"The extreme south of Chile has a great history of relationships with naturalists and with science -such as the German Rudolph Amandus Philippi and British Charles Darwin--. It is a valuable natural heritage that offers an abundance of biodiversity, and the possibility to research its diverse aspects, such as monitoring global climate change" commented Ricardo Rozzi, director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program (SBCP)."
It was precisely the SBCP, which operates under the wings of the University of North Texas in the US, and the University of Magallanes, the Millennium Institute of Ecology and Diversity, and the Omora Foundation in Chile, that led the proposal to nominate the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve to be named among the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. With this designation, the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve is honored along with previously named sustainable destinations in 2014, such as Easter Island, the Great Wall of China, Vancouver in Canada, and the Capital of Slovenia, Ljubjana, where the award ceremony was held for the 2016 Top Sustainable Destinations.
Ecotourism with a Hand Lens
The Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve hosts 5 % of the world's bryophyte species (mosses) known on the planet, as well as species of lichens, fungi, liverworts and insects that give form to what is known as "the miniature forests of Cape Horn."
This is what has carried the development of "Ecotourism with a Hand Lens" for the appreciation of the small forms of life present, as well as for research, education, and tourism. We invented it, and already in China and Japan they are beginning to do something similar. The idea is to integrate the experience and research with the environmental ethics, connecting it to nature," states Rozzi. This novel form of ecotourism was highlighted by the 2016 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations as an innovation in sustainable tourism for the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.
For Rozzi, this recognition entails a great challenge in terms of management and taking care of the region. With this objective, the regional government in Chile has already approved funds for the construction of the Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center, oriented to work in areas such as research, visitor education, and the creation of a Technical Formation Center focused on sustainable tourism.
-english synopsis courtesy of Kelli Moses