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FACES OF CHANGE - Using a national system for monitoring climate change impacts to preserve biodiversity in Chile

Fish make up 17% of the world’s consumption in Chile, fishing is a vital source of income for communities, including the people of famed Easter Island, or Rapa Nui as it's known by Chileans.

The livelihood of these people is at stake, due to declining populations of marine species who are being impacted by industrial fishers (over fishing and aquarium trade), pollution, and climate change causing habitat loss and environmental damages.

Chile is striving to change this. The creation of a biodiversity monitoring network, in the context of climate change adaptation, was clearly identified as a major need for the environmental institutions of the country.

 Photographs by Tommaso Protti

Chile already had a big focus on biodiversity with many studies, sponsored by the government, academic institutions and other entities, to monitor biodiversity in precious ecosystems. In fact, just last year the Nazca-Desventuradas National Marine Park, encompassing 8% of the world’s oceans, was established in Chile. However, there was a challenge in coordinated communication and planning among these projects and entities that all had a common goal.

One of the first biodiversity monitoring sites in the world, Estación Costera de Investigaciones Marinas (ECIM), began with a 1km section closed off to human contact to study what happened when the human variable was removed from a coastal and marine system. The results were startling. After just 2 years, scientists noticed in the reserve an unexpectedly large increase in the biomass of “locos,” a carnivorous gastropod extensively harvested for food in Chile. They now knew the benefits of having preservation sites and the importance of monitoring ecosystem biodiversity.

To protect its biodiversity heritage under global climate change scenarios, Chile wanted to set up a biodiversity monitoring network that spanned the entire country and connected all the entities actively engaging on biodiversity already, like ECIM. To accomplish this feat, they needed a sound technological infrastructure that they did not have the capacity to design. Chile asked the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) to step in and together they established the Chilean Biodiversity Monitoring Network, an integral component of Chile’s National Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

This network will be used as Chile’s primary instrument in providing reliable data to establish strategies and policies for biodiversity´s conservation and adaptation to climate change. ECIM is just one station among several in this national effort. El Roble conservation site is one of the major reservoirs of biodiversity in Chile and soon it will build a biodiversity monitoring station for researchers from the Ministry for the Environment. From research institutions to NGOs, CTCN helped to link these different monitoring entities to come together as a big network under the Chilean Ministry of Environment. 


The CTCN provides the transfer of practical climate technology solutions at the request of developing countries, to help them meet their commitments to energy-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient development. As the operative arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Technology Mechanism, the CTCN is hosted by UN Environment in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and strengthened by a consortium of 12 technology institutions around the world. The Centre harnesses the climate expertise of these partners, as well as a global network of 250 civil society, finance, private sector, and research institutions, to deliver technical assistance, capacity building and links to financing. For more information, please visit


«Deserts, islands, Andes and Glaciers: Chile boasts a huge diversity of natural characteristics that represent the perfect combination for monitor the alterations in the planet. It was remarkable to see work of the people I met in Chile improving our collective knowledge about climate change and preserving such important environment. » Tommaso Protti

Tommaso Protti was born in Mantova, Italy, in 1986 and grew up in Rome. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Albert Hall, Les Rencontres d’Arles etc. and has been featured in internationally prominent publications including: The New York Times, Time, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Le Monde among others. Tommaso is based in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Chile just protected 8% of the world’s oceans through creating the largest marine reserve in the Americas, protecting species that are found nowhere else on Earth.

Chile is one of the first countries to complete a technology transfer through the Climate Technology Centre and Network.

Chile has over 50 parks, reserves, and monuments that protect over 10 million hectares. 


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