We are redirecting you toChileatiende.cl

The portal ofprocedures and benefits of the state

DEC. 22, 2022

Council of Ministers for Sustainability approves the creation of the Flowering Desert National Park and three other protected areas

The national park will protect a representative sample of the flowering phenomenon in the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world, which features over 200 species. “I actively participated in COP15 Biodiversity last week, where the countries reached an agreement to protect 30% of the planet. This announcement aligns with that agreement,” explained Environment Minister Maisa Rojas.

Environment Minister Maisa Rojas presided over the Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change, which approved the creation of four new protected areas this afternoon. They include the Flowering Desert National Park, which will allow the government to strengthen its commitment to protecting this key ecosystem and natural phenomenon.

Chile’s new Flowering Desert National Park is located in the Atacama Region and spans approximately 57,000 hectares. It will provide official protection with the country’s highest existing environmental standard -national park-, safeguarding the area’s high value flora and fauna.

The protected government land will preserve the flowering phenomenon that occurs in the Atacama Desert, the driest in the world, which features approximately 200 species, many of them endemic. The area is also home to over 40 bird species, 17 mammal species and 8 reptile species that are considered threatened and are associated with the flowering and vegetative activation process, which is caused by seeds and propagules that remain dormant for most of the year. 

Environment Minister Maisa Rojas praised the milestone, explaining, “The flowering desert in northern Chile is a unique event at the global level and is of great international interest. The State has a duty to protect it given that it is also home to over 200 plant species, many of which are endemic, meaning that they do not exist anywhere else.” She added, “Protecting biodiversity and our natural heritage should be a priority. We are facing a serious crisis of biodiversity loss in Chile and around the world. Last week, I actively participated in COP15 in Montreal, where the countries agreed to protect 30% of the planet. This announcement aligns with those efforts.”

The proposal for the Flowering Desert National Park was developed jointly by the Environment, National Heritage and Agriculture Ministries and the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF).

National Heritage Minister Javiera Toro was invited to participate in today’s session given that her unit transferred the land that will comprise the new park. Following the vote, she noted the importance of protecting the Atacama Desert where the flowering desert takes place, and remarked, “This will be the country’s 44th national park, which reflects the progress that the government is making towards protecting the environment at the urging of President Gabriel Boric.”

For his part, CONAF Director Christian Little stated, “We were able to create this national park because it is a government priority and part of the commitment made through President Boric’s program to ensure the conservation of unique ecosystems in accordance with international rules regarding biodiversity preservation.”

More protected areas

During the Council’s meeting, the ministers approved the creation of three other protected areas. They are Tres Cruces National Monument and the Oasis de Niebla Punta Gruesa and Río Sasso Nature Sanctuaries.

Tres Cruces National Monument is located in Paihuano, Coquimbo Region, and spans 708 hectares. It is home to valuable paleontological resources as well as endemic flora and fauna that are under conservation.

The Oasis de Niebla Punta Gruesa Nature Sanctuary in Iquique (Tarapacá Region) covers approximately 24 hectares and has one of the last living populations of Eulychnia iquiquensis (Copao de Iquique), a species of cactus that is in danger of extinction. It is also the habitat of coastal desert fauna, including lizard species, Darwin’s leaf-eared mouse and the llaca or Chilean mouse opossum. The sanctuary is a concrete contribution to the recovery, conservation and management plan known as RECOGE that has been developed for northern Chile’s coastal flora.

The Río Sasso Nature Sanctuary is a privately owned 14,000-hectare property in the municipality of Monte Patria in the Coquimbo Region. Visitors can find high-Andean wetlands, rocky glaciers and the source of the Sasso River there. Endemic flora and fauna species also are associated with the area, including Darwin’s leaf-eared mouse, the Chilean mouse possum and reptiles.

The Council of Ministers for Sustainability and Climate Change is an entity headed by the Environment Ministry. Its members include the Treasury, Finance, Energy, Education, Transportation, Public Works, Health, Agriculture, Housing, Social Development, Mining and Science Ministries.