Outcomes and Lessons Learned

The experiences of FEP and EHL, as described above, show the importance of fieldwork for observing and valuing biodiversity at both macro and micro scales. The outcomes associated with biophysical dimensions addressed by our biocultural approach are nowadays widely understood in regional formal and non-formal education, as well as the media, culture, and ecotourism programs, due to the clearer identification of the unique attributes of the subantarctic ecoregion of Magallanes, which explains the singularities of its biodiversity (Rozzi et al., 2012). Remarkably, wool, wood, and metal handicrafts of moss and lichen species have become popular in the cities, and even in stores at the airports.

The outcomes associated with the cultural and institutional dimensions of our biocultural approach are also significant. First, the integration of these dimensions has been linked to the coining of new names for an ecoregion that was previously ‘invisible’ and subsumed under the label ‘Patagonia’ (a region in southeastern South America characterized by its flat arid steppe and gaucho [horsemen] culture). Today, the rainy archipelagoes, fjords, forests, and glaciers, with cultural habits based on navigation (including bark canoes used by Native Americans, as well as fishing boats, Navy vessels, and, since the 1990s, cruise ships), is now amply recognized as the subantarctic Magellanic ecoregion (sensu Rozzi et al., 2012). Second, we can see success in the establishment of new educational methodologies, conservation policies, and institutions, such as the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, and more recently the new Diego Ramirez Islands—Drake Passage Marine Park and the Subantarctic Cape Horn Center in Puerto Williams.

Based on our work, we can identify three methodological principles that contributed to establishing effective collaborations between philosophers and scientists, policymakers, and other actors to integrate science and philosophy into biocultural conservation. These principles could be adopted in other regions of the world.

Principle 1: Interdisciplinary and Inter-Institutional Integration

The first level of academic interdisciplinary work involves the integration of methods, perspectives, and data from natural and social sciences, as well as from the humanities. The second level of collaboration involves transdisciplinarity, strengthening interactions among academic and nonacademic actors, including governmental and nongovernmental agencies, and other public and private sector representatives involved in policymaking and decision-making (Frode-man et al., 2010).

Complementing interdisciplinary knowledge with transdisciplinary decisionmaking involving multiple national and international partners (e.g., UNESCO) was essential to achieving the creation of the CHBR. For example, including diverse professionals and institutions that possess the knowledge and authority to administer terrestrial, coastal, and ocean areas permitted the integration of land and, for the first time, marine ecosystems in a Chilean biosphere reserve. The principle of reciprocal illumination that has been effectively used by evolutionary biologists since the 1960s (Brower, 1996) can be adapted to understand the value of combining the findings of scientists and philosophers. At Omora Park, philosophers have acted as facilitators and have catalyzed teamwork to generate new metaphors, names, narratives, and activities for special interest tourism and policies.

Principle 2: Overcoming the Linear Sequence from Research to Policy

Systematic and continuous teamwork to integrate knowledge production and policymaking has relied on an iterative process conducted by an inter-institutional team. Philosophers, scientists, policymakers, and authorities have worked together, not to deliver a product, but to co-produce publications, policy documents, and recommendations through field teamwork conducted within various institutions.’’ This participatory process of co-production of knowledge and decision-making stands in marked contrast to the prevailing approach of hired consultancies led by professionals who deliver reports produced through a linear sequence of steps (beginning with the production of knowledge, followed by its communication to policymakers and/or other users, and the eventual use by them).

Synchronic co-production of knowledge and policy documents significantly increases decision-makers’ involvement and commitment to the goals. For example, synchronic teamwork was critical to achieving a consensus on zoning and defining the core, buffer, and transition areas of the Cape Hom Biosphere Reserve. In consultation with multiple local and national stakeholders, and with technical advice from UNESCO, a shift was achieved from prioritizing salmon farming toward favoring ecotourism in most coastal areas of the CHBR. Moreover, cooperation on the sensitive decision-making task of zoning allowed the incorporation of indigenous and other local populations for the first time in a Chilean protected area. Participation of philosophers enhanced understanding of the value of multiple knowledge forms and of inter-cultural, inter-institutional, and international processes that take place simultaneously in territorial planning.

 
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