This book aims to quantify and discuss how societies have directly and indirectly benefited from ecosystem services in Patagonia; not only in terms of provisioning and cultural services, but also regulating and supporting services. Patagonia, a region that stretches across two countries (ca. 10% in Chile and 90% in Argentina), is home to some of the most extensive wilderness areas on our planet. Natural grasslands comprise almost 30% of the Americas, including the Patagonian steppe, while Patagonian southern temperate forests are important for carbon sequestration and storage, play a pivotal role in water regulation, and have become widely recognized for their ecotourism value. However, profound changes are now underway that could affect key ecosystem functions and ultimately human well-being. In this context, one major challenge we face in Patagonia is that ecosystem services are often ignored in economic markets, government policies and land management practices. Ecosystem Services in Patagonia explores the synergies and trade-offs between conservation and economic development as natural landscapes and seascapes continue to degrade in Patagonia. Historically, economic markets have largely focused on the provisioning services (forest products, livestock) while neglecting the interdependent roles of regulating services (erosion and climate control), supporting services (nutrient cycling) and cultural services (recreation, local identity, tourism). Therefore, the present work focuses on ecosystem functions and ecosystem services, as well as on trends in biodiversity and the interactions between natural environments and land-use activities throughout Patagonia.
Pablo Peri is a Forest Engineer and holds a PhD in Plant Science. For the last 26 years, he has focused on the ecology and management of Nothofagus forests in Southern Patagonia related to timber industries (silviculture practices) and silvopastoral systems. The windbreak design created from the research programme carried out has been adopted over the length and breadth of Patagonia. He’s also been involved with carbon storage, ecosystem services and biodiversity. He is currently a Professor at the National University of Southern Patagonia (UNPA), Head Researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), a researcher at the National Commission of Scientist Research and Technology (CONICET) and Director of the Doctoral Degree of Natural Resources in Patagonia at UNPA. He is also a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Montreal Process, Coordinator of the National Project of INTA Sustainable Management of Native Forest Systems and Vice President of the Global Silvopastoral Systems Network within the framework of the FAO Global Sustainable Livestock Agenda.
Guillermo J. Martínez Pastur is a Forest Engineer and holds a PhD in Agronomy. With over 20 years of research experience in forest management, conservation and landscape ecology, his work is focused on temperate forests in the southernmost native forests of the world. A Senior Research Scientist at CONICET, he has authored more than 150 papers and 25 book chapters and has been an associate editor for several journals on ecology and landscape ecology.
Laura Nahuelhual Muñoz is an Agricultural Engineer and holds an MSc in Rural Development and a PhD in Environmental Economics. A Principal Investigator at the Research Center: Dynamics of High Latitudes’ Marine Ecosystems, for the majority of her career she has focused on various aspects of the ecosystem services approach, covering mapping, social and economic valuation and governance, in both terrestrial and marine social-ecological systems.