I am currently studying an MSc in Conservation at University College London (UCL). Since 2013, I have been a research fellow at the Fauna Australis Wildlife Laboratory in Chile, collaborating with local communities on projects directed at the conservation of wild animals, such as the mountain lion (Puma concolor), Latin American camelids like vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) and guanaco (Lama guanicoe), birds of prey, and cavity-nesting birds in Chile’s southern temperate forest.
Chile is considered one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world, characterized by its environmental richness, different ecosystems, high endemic flora and natural attractiveness that must be preserved for future generations. In addition, Chile is home to a vast history of traditional ecological knowledge that has not been discovered, researched and acknowledged. Chile’s diverse ecosystems and its biodiversity has been threatened by a disproportionate economic growth over the last three decades. This paradigm has created severe conflicts between people and their environment. Population growth, city expansion, pollution, exotic species invasion and habitat fragmentation have become constant threats to Chilean biodiversity, problems which our public institutions have failed to control.
I strongly believe that nature conservation must be considered using an integrated approach among different disciplines, and has to go hand in hand with working with local communities. I would like to focus my research in traditional ecological knowledge, and how its revitalization could have positive repercussions for local communities and the conservation of their environment. Along with some Chilean conservationists, we are currently creating the Chilean Socio-ecology and Ethno-ecology Network as an important step forward to raise the awareness about the importance of human dimensions in nature conservation.