Osununú Conservation

To protect a native forest in combination with local development in Argentina

 

The Osununu Reserve has high potential for attracting tourist activities due to its biodiversity, and cultural and historical aspects. The extraordinary landscapes and their location on the Parana River add to the appeal of the area. Despite these excellent conditions, tourist development is almost null. The area is visited by few visitors and suitable infrastructure and services are nonexistent. Biodiversity in the area is viewed as seriously threatened by experts. The population exists in state of poverty that, by necessity, resorts to thefts and to illegal activities that negatively affect the area we are trying to conserve.

Eight Guaraníes communities exist within the San Ignacio`s District, in which 86 families with 378 members live in conditions which require improvement.

Community planning, which would provide for a harmonic development of the region and avoid inadequate uses, does not exist. However, in certain sectors, tourism is seen a potential tool for the development, but this in general does not include conservation consciousness or the actual potential and the value of the existing resources. Not only there is lack of tourist services, but the general population and business community do not seem to recognise the potential value of the tourism industry at large and therefore do not cater to tourists and visitors in any eco minded manner.

 

The Temaikèn Foundation owns a natural reserve of 174 hectares in the locality of San Ignacio, Southeast of Misiones Province, 60 km from Posadas, the Capital City of the province, called “Osununú” (noise of the rivers), on the border of the Teyú Cuaré Provincial Park. Great biodiversity, endemism and landscapes of extreme ecological value co-exist in the area. The fauna is very abundant with numerous species, many of them threatened and in danger of extinction. These characteristics make it a place of high priority for conservation. The Province of Misiones owns innumerable tourist resources resulting from its geographic location and attractive, natural, cultural and historical sites. Osununú is located in an area that was originally owned by the Jesuits, and is considered to be one of the most interesting historical sites of the province. The peculiar geological formations of the area, the vertical walls, numerous ravines and defiles connect infinite landscapes, typical flora, and fauna with the historic remains of Jesuit buildings. This makes this area an attractive scientific, cultural and tourist site which merits conservation.

 

One of the objectives for the preservation of Osununú is to declare the land a “Private Natural Reserve” and to develop an “Experimental Biological Station” dedicated to the research and conservation of the native flora and fauna. With the implementation of suitable norms and guidelines for the conservation of the existing resources, the protection of the natural ecosystems is guaranteed. The activities planned will enable suitable ecological equilibrium conditions for the refuge, protection, feeding and reproduction of the wild flora and resident and migratory fauna. These activities include numerable actions to constitute conservation corridors, zone damping areas of public dominion, reinforce and educate the population in natural, historical and socio-cultural values of the area, encourage controlled recreation and the eco-tourism necessary to provide opportunities for the environmental education of the local population. The consistent aim is to protect natural and cultural environments, allowing and ensuring the development of the natural processes and maintain the environmental balance.

 

Temaikèn Foundation's main objectives are educating visitors and the local population and enhancing the viability of the area. The idea of offering educational visits will be implemented by local tourist companies who are encouraged to develop environmental education tours geared towards tourists that will not negatively affect the environment. This project would allow the conservation of the natural terrain features, historical and cultural sources in the area and surrounding sites. The idea would be to enhance the touristic value of the area by means of joint development with other attractive premises, to heighten the cultural values of the region, and prioritize the value of the area in a local, regional, national and international context. In the Municipality of San Ignacio, there are three existing Guaranì Communities: Andresito Colony, Ivy Poty and Katupyry. These communities are east of Nº12 Route. Some of their members visit the San Mini Ignacio Reductions in order to sell their crafts to tourists. Touristic development of the area would benefit these families by offering them an opportunity for local development, as well as a source of work for local tourism. The Provincial Government has identified high-priority markets in Ecotourism. Some of the popular attractions that will provide for manageable eco tourism, are the Jesuit Mission of San Ignacio, the Teyú Cuaré Provincial Park and the” Horacio Quiroga” (a museum in the writer’s family home).

WAZA Conservation Project 09006 is implemented by the Temaiken Foundation.

 

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