Integrating Ecology and Environmental Ethics: Earth Stewardship in the Southern End of the Americas Page: 230
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(8) Past and present climate change history. The Quaternary
history of glacial cycles in this region, at the southern mar-
gin of the westerlies wind belt, provides a unique setting
for understanding the patterns of past and present climate
change in the Southern Hemisphere lands and oceans,
documented in sediment cores from austral peat bogs and
lakes (Villa-Martinez and Moreno 2007). Comparative
studies of the responses of the biota to past and present
climate change in both hemispheres benefit from the fact
that the Patagonian glacial ice was (and is) prevailingly ori-
ented north to south, in close association with the Andean
Cordillera, and not east to west as ice in the Northern
Hemisphere is (Veblen et al. 1996, Patterson 2010). In
addition, the high habitat heterogeneity and the marked
temperature and rainfall gradients over a relatively small
continental area offer an ideal scenario for assessing the
responses of the biota to global climate change.
(9) The diversity of indigenous cultures and languages. A
mosaic of indigenous cultures has historically lived in
close association with the southern temperate forest biome
(Hidalgo et al. 1996). Each Amerindian group has been
closely associated with distinct ecosystems. For example,
the close links to the land are compellingly expressed in
the language of the Mapuche, who define themselves as the
people (che) of the land (mapu). Indeed, the names of the
three main Mapuche groups refer directly to the particular
habitats they inhabit: The Pehuenche are the people of
the pehuen or monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana)
forests of the volcanic Andean range (37-40 S); the
Lafkenche are the people of the lafken or coastal ecosystems
(36-40 S); and the Huilliche are the people of the huilli or
south, and they inhabit the evergreen Valdivian rain forests
(38-42 S). All Mapuche groups speak Mapudungun, the
"land-language"-literally, the language (dungu) of the
land-that onomatopoeically corresponds with bird sounds,
and many words resonate with the sounds of other biotic
and physical components of the regional ecosystems (Rozzi
et al. 2010b).
Farther south, in the archipelagoes of the sub-Antarctic
Magellanic ecoregion, a highly threatened group of indig-
enous cultures and languages is found: the Fuegian ethnic
complex. Prior to European colonization, the Kaweshkar
or Alacaluf inhabited most of the archipelago region from
the Gulf of Penas to the Darwin Cordillera (47o-550 S), the
Selknam or Ona occupied most of Tierra del Fuego, and
the Yahgans-the world's southernmost ethnic group--
navigated and lived throughout the islands south of Tierra
del Fuego to Cape Horn (550-56o S) (Hidalgo et al. 1996).
Today, only two small communities of Fuegian descendents
can be found in the whole ecoregion: a Kaweshkar com-
munity in Puerto Eden on Wellington Island (490 S) and a
Yahgan community in Puerto Williams on Navarino Island
(550 S). These two communities are highly acculturated;
today, the Kaweshkar and Yahgan languages are each spoken
fluently by fewer than 10 inhabitants (Rozzi et al. 2010b).
(10) The largest area of parks and biosphere reserves in the
temperate Southern Hemisphere. Providing opportunities for
conservation and scientific research within the austral tem-
perate forest biome are several large protected areas in the
Chilean Magellanic region. These protected areas include the
second largest national park in Latin America, the Bernardo
O'Higgins National Park (3.5 million ha). If the area of
that park were added to a contiguous national reserve and
two other adjacent national parks, the entire protected area
would be 7.3 million ha-nine times larger than Yellowstone
National Park. This represents the largest continuous terri-
tory under protection at nontropical latitudes in the Southern
Hemisphere. However, this extensive protected-areas system
suffers from four substantial shortcomings: (1) Only four
park rangers are employed to protect 7.3 million ha of
land; (2) located in a largely uninhabited region, these
protected areas are vulnerable to boundary changes or land
decommissioning for development purposes; (3) these three
parks, like others in the southern rain forests region, have
until recently excluded indigenous and local communities
from access to their ancestral lands, to their traditional
resources, and to participation in territorial planning and
other decisionmaking processes; and (4) Chilean national
parks include only terrestrial ecosystems and do not include
marine coastal areas or biotically rich intertidal zones in the
Current threats to forests and waters in the
New access roads being constructed through primeval forests
in the Patagonian archipelago and the decreasing presence of
the Chilean navy in the sub-Antarctic islands and channels are
contributing to growing development and, consequently, to
environmental and social pressures (Barros and Harcha 2004).
The region now faces the following impending threats.
Construction is projected for seven large hydroelectric
dams on the remote Cuervo and Baker Rivers; the latter is
the largest river in the South American temperate forest
biome. This project will require building 5000 towers to
support a transmission line running more than 2400 km on
a 120-meter-wide strip and will include one of the world's
biggest clearcut corridors, fragmenting ancient forest ecosys-
tems (Vince 2010).
The present road system is being expanded to connect
development centers in the Patagonian archipelago region.
These roads will open new access from the mouth of the
Baker River (470 S) to Puerto Natales (52o S) (Martinic 2004)
and will stretch south through Tierra del Fuego Island to the
recently established Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (Barros
and Harcha 2004).
The rapid growth of nonnative salmon farming indus-
try with large numbers of floating cages anchored directly
to the seabed is disrupting the austral sea and landscapes
(40o-540 S). Salmon farming has major ecological and
social impacts, including antibiotic pollution, eutrophica-
tion of lake and marine waters, introduction of a voracious
230 BioScience * March 2012 / Vol. 62 No. 3
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Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-; Armesto, Juan J., 1953-; Gutiérrez, Julio R., 1953-; Massardo, Francisca; Likens, Gene E., 1935-; Anderson, Christopher B. et al. Integrating Ecology and Environmental Ethics: Earth Stewardship in the Southern End of the Americas, article, March 2012; [Reston, Virginia]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc130199/m1/5/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.