South American Wildlands - Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of this project is to aid the conservation of the richest reservoir of biodiversity left on Earth through research, education, collaboration and actions focused on the immense wildlands of the South American continent. We do this through these objectives and methods:

  • Accurately map and describe the wildlands that remain in South America. This is the first step of any conservation effort. You can't protect an area that you can't describe.
  • Develop a deep information resource containing data on the plants, animals, ecosystems, environments, human uses and threats to these wildlands. This information resource will be key to their protection.
  • Characterize these areas in terms of their irreplaceability.  What is their overall contribution to global biodiversity and what would be lost if they disappear?
  • Characterize these areas in terms of their vulnerability. What are the pressures, threats and chances that they will be compromised or destroyed through fragmentation, development or biodiversity loss?
  • Integrate this information in a wildland conservation decision support system that can be used to inform conservation decisions in South America.
  • Share these rich information resources with conservation partners at all local, regional, national and international levels
  • Help build capacity within regional partner NGOs and scientists through training and material support

Wildlands are places where ecosystems are still characterized by natural processes and where native biodiversity finds its fullest expression. Wildlands are areas without roads and have minimal human development. However, people (particularly in South America) may live within wildlands. Wildlands are for people as much as they are home to tremendous biodiversity.

  • We are mapping and analyzing the roadless/undeveloped areas using a procedure we developed to map the wildlands of the USA in 2001. We  have continued to improve these methods through successive iterations. This project is conducted in tandem with our Wildlands and Biodiversity in Washington State project, which provides a local test bed for development of analysis techniques and approaches.
  • We work in close collaboration with talented partners at local, national and global levels. These scientists and conservationists provide valuable information, insight, inspiration and guidance.
  • We gather the best available information about the wildlands of South America and their biodiversity from numerous sources around the world.
  • We tap into a reservoir of enthusiastic and skilled volunteer citizen scientists and explorers.

Opportunities for Individuals
Participate in a wildland and biodiversity expedition into the big wilds of Argentina.
Help us map South American Wildlands from home.
Download and view a slide show on wildland conservation opportunities in Argentina and Chile with a perspective from North America. (Adobe Acrobat format) (7.7 MB)  
Explore our growing collection of webmaps large wildland complexes in Argentina and Chile
Read a complete description of the project, including a work plan, timeline, and other details. (Adobe PDF file).

Read more about this project here

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