Discovery and implementation of Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) as an emblematic species: A biocultural approach for conservation in Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

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Universidad de Magallanes
At the southernmost part of South America there is Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve where the Magellanic sub-Antarctic evergreen unfragmented the Nothofagus forests still persist. This zone has been considered as one of the world's most pristine regions and this area is currently subject to increasing development pressures from new connectivity, urban expansion and tourism development. Using a biocultural approach we found that the Magellanic Woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus) is the favorite bird for the community of Puerto Williams, the world's southernmost town and the biggest human centre in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Although, significant differences (P < 0,05) exists between the preferences of the sociocultural groups toward birds, all groups agreed in their preferences toward the Magellanic woodpecker. This species of bird was the preferred for the people who have been longer in Cape Horn: the members of the Yahgan Indigenous Community and long time residents. The analysis of these results as well as the discovery of ten attributes that this species of picid presents which in addition is the largest of South America, have taken us to consider it like a charismatic or emblematic species with a high potential for the conservation of the austral forests of Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. For this previous reasons the Magellanic woodpecker could be transformed into a symbol or a charismatic species for the conservation of the pristine austral forest. Between the year 2005 and 2007 we developed the Magellanic Woodpecker Implementation Program with the objective to increase both its intrinsic value and habitat valuation and the knowledge from the local community. The discovery of this species potential as well as their later implementation may contribute to the conservation of the fragile, singular and beautiful austral forests and its singular biological and cultural diversity.
Campephilus magellanicus, Charismatic species, Conservation, Old-growth forests, Cape Horn Bisophere Reserve