In representation of Fundación Pro-Bosque, Eric Horstman participated in the 10th Latin American Congress of Private Reserves and Original Peoples held in Valdivia, Chile, August 19th through 23rd. Eric made two presentations at the Congress, the first was "The Cerro Blanco Protected Forest: A Private Conservation Initiative Conserving and Restoring the Ecuadorian Dry Tropical Forest" and the second was "The Biological Corridor Between the Cerro Blanco and Chongón Colonche Protected Forests: A Conservation Initiative With Private Property Owners" in representation of Jaime Camacho of The Nature Conservancy. Both presentations were well received by the participants. The Congress brought together more than 300 representatives of both governmental and non governmental organizations, working in private protected area conservation, from several countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean as well as North America.
The themes of the Congress included the following:
- Public politics and incentives related to both private protected areas and original peoples
- Original Peoples: worldwide much of the remaining natural areas are found on indigenous people's lands. Valdivia is located in an area where the Mapuche indigenous group live and representatives of the Mapuches as well as Aymara from Bolivia and other indigenous groups actively participated in the Congress
- Productive Activities: different types of initiatives (agriculture, land purchase, handicrafts, etc) to help finance biodiversity conservation
- Sustainable Tourism
- Natural Laboratories for Investigation
- Education and Rescue of Natural Patrimony.
Jim Barborak, one of the Congress keynote speakers, made an important point, using the analogy of a table needing more than one leg to be fully supported, that for private protected areas to be sustainable they must not focus exclusively on tourism, but also on these other factors.
The next Congress will be held in Costa Rica.