Protect the Andes Cordillera!

Andes of Chile (1)
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There is growing concern in San Fabián, Ñuble Region, Chile. The real estate company Genau Green is parcelling up the cordillera, fragmenting an area of approximately 100 sq. km (34 mega-plots) into 4-hectare plots to sell them along with their beautiful native forests.

Andes of Chile (2)
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This real estate company is using a supposedly “green” marketing strategy and the Derecho Real de Conservación (DRC is a Chilean mechanism similar to internationally used Conservation Easements and Covenants) to split up and sell an area located within a biodiversity hotspot, a transition zone between sclerophyllus forests and southern temperate forests, with a high diversity of endemic species. These forests are a highly threatened heritage with priceless environmental value. Besides, the property borders the Corredor Biológico Nevados de Chillán-Laguna del Laja Biosphere Reserve, and is next to the future protected wildlife area located in Bullileo valley.

Genau Green claims the DRC mechanism guarantees that the land being sold will be preserved, as this legal tool for long-term conservation prohibits the land from being used for real estate, commercial, tourist, industrial, agricultural, forestry, mining and any other activity that may damage environmental heritage. Yet the plots that have been sold so far are in the middle of the mountain range, with no access road, no waste management plan and no treatment plan for contaminated water. Buyers can only get there by helicopter or by walking through natural ecosystems, where there are no trails.

12 mega-plots out of 34 already have been authorised by SAG (Agriculture and Livestock Service of the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile) to be subdivided into 4-hectare plots with DRC that actually allow the construction of houses on a surface area of 400 sqm per plot, which contradicts the alleged idea behind the project and shows that it is clearly of a real estate nature. Besides, although the 12 mega-plots were presented to the authorities independently, they are in fact a single very large project that requires an environmental impact assessment.

Land development poses a tremendous threat to these ecosystems, leading to fragmentation, deforestation, erosion, loss of biodiversity, introduction of alien species, fires and pollution. Do we really want a natural heritage, of all Chileans, to become the object of real-estate speculation?

You can sign the petition to protect the Andes Cordillera here.