During the 6th Southern Connection Conference, carried out in Bariloche, Argentina from 15-19 February 2010, the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program co-sponsored with its Chilean and Argentine colleagues a symposium to address the use of long-term socio-ecological research (LTSER) sites as a platform to affect conservation and management of the southern temperate forest biome found in Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. The Southern Connection Conference is a tri-annual meeting of ecologists, geographers, geologists and paleobiologists, begun in 1993 as an effort for the countries that were once part of the Gondwana supercontinent (Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand), to have the opportunity to share experiences and to generate collaborations. The invited participants to the LTSER symposium included representatives from Chile, Argentina and Tasmania, in the Program’s broader effort to promote LTSER initiatives in the Southern Hemisphere. In this context, the event co-organized by Dr. Christopher Anderson, Subantarctic Program Coordinator, and Dr. Guillermo Martinez Pastur, a forest ecologist at the Austral Scientific Research Center in Ushuaia, Argentina, was intended to further the ongoing work of the University of North Texas, the University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity to implement a Chilean network of LTSER sites that work also on the integration of academic disciplines and the academy with society. Additionally, the Program will launch in March a special edition of the Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, which shares the proceedings of a previous workshop held at the Omora Park in 2008 about this topic.
On February 12, the Minister of National Lands in Chile Jacqueline Weinstein presided over a ceremony in the Omora Park to give the University of Magallanes a new lease to extend the park’s boundaries. With the incorporation of these new parcels of land, the Omora Park now extends over 1,000 hectares and is better able to fulfill its primary function of protecting the watershed that provides drinking water to the town of Puerto Williams. Furthermore, the new lease includes the summit of Robalo Mountain and ensures a complete altitudinal profile for the long-term research and studies conducted in the park.