Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Chile: Shorebird Conservation Plan for Chiloé, Phase III


The Eastern Wetlands of Chiloé in southern Chile were collectively designated a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance in 2011 for supporting significant Pacific populations of Hudsonian Godwits and Whimbrels.

Since 2011, thanks to support from Packard Foundation, three implementation phases for the Chiloé Migratory Shorebird Conservation Plan have been developed. This has enabled partners to build a foundation on which to grow the process for conserving habitats for these species at this vital site. The four main lines of action are:
1. Social Marketing and involvement of key actors;
2. Good governance and management of sites;
3. Conservation integrated with local economic development; and
4. Measures of success.

Hudsonian Godwits (Limosa haemastica) / © Diego Luna Quevedo

During the Plan’s third implementation phase, partners carried out intensive campaigns and other activities focused on the locale that have increased the visibility and appreciation of wetlands as critical habitat for shorebirds. New mechanisms were proposed for safeguarding sites and for including wetlands in local planning processes. Progress was made in monitoring birds and in building a baseline for measuring management effectiveness. In addition, governance at the local level improved, new strategic alliances were built, and public support for conservation increased. Another important issue was the promotion and development of productive, local micro-enterprises associated with conservation.

Through the guidance and technical support of the WHSRN Executive Office (Manomet), the Center for the Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage (CECPAN) and the nongovernmental organization Marine Conservation have facilitated the development of basic land-use agreements in shorebird areas. They have also invested heavily to generate cultural changes regarding the local community’s behaviors, attitudes, and practices towards wetlands and shorebirds. For this, social marketing campaigns, festivals and fairs, and education, science, and heritage programs were developed for a spectrum of people. They also have been strengthening management skills in local municipalities. All these actions have effectively allowed a favorable stance towards conservation to be built. Direct and informed participation of key stakeholders and the drafting of basic agreements have been key in achieving this.

Shorebird Festival  / © Diego Luna Quevedo

Another highlight of the first three phases of implementation has been the ability to answer the question: “what do I gain from conservation?” The response from the Plan has been the development of a number of productive enterprises, the generation of small businesses connected with bird conservation, and the training of local entrepreneurs.

So far, the Plan has helped to make progress towards protecting more than 2,800 hectares of critical habitat for shorebirds, via five different types of regulatory mechanisms. An estimated 6,000 people have directly benefited from the Plan, in that they now have access to information and conservation-related skills. They are people who are also actively participating in local discussions, festivals and fairs, and related activities and efforts.

For more information, please contact Diego Luna Quevedo (diego.luna@manomet.org), WHSRN Conservation Specialist, Santiago, Chile.