Conservation Values and Human Activities in Península Valdés
BALDI R.; TORREJÓN C.
Naturaleza de la
Campo de Aplicación:
In this work, we involved six land-owners in conservation efforts of terrestrial and coastal wildlife and habitats compatible with their sheep-ranching activities in the Península Valdés World Heritage Site. We surveyed the properties to record the presence of key wildlife species and interviewed the owners and workers to assess conservation values and human activities. We described the main ecosystem services derived from the selected properties, mapped the key biodiversity elements and their interactions with human activities, identified threats to biodiversity and proposed priority actions to mitigate those threats in the near future. Most of the threats, especially to coastal wildlife, result from illegal activities which are external to the ranches and need to be addressed by different stakeholders working in collaboration. Other threats, mostly related to terrestrial wildlife, are the result of common practices derived from traditional sheep ranching. With support from WCS the land-owners involved in this work decided to form a group with common goals and strategies that are committed to improving management by maintaining livestock stocking rates according to carrying capacity, allowing coexistence with native herbivores, finding non-lethal solutions to manage predators, and conserving coastal wildlife and habitats. We helped the land-owners apply for Wildlife Friendly certification in order to add value to the Merino wool they produce, while contributing to conserve the key wildlife species. We drafted basic standards for sustainable wool production compatible with healthy populations of wildlife species in Península Valdés, and briefly discuss other alternatives such as low-impact, responsible tourism where appropriate.