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Restoring Resilience: Changing the Landscape Legacy in Patagonia

Co Authors:

Dawn R. Tanner
Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
University of Minnesota

Jim A. Perry
Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
University of Minnesota


Sheep ranching has destroyed habitat and decimated species in many areas of the world, but in Patagonia declining wool prices provide an opportunity to turn the tide. This case study places students in the role of advisor to an international NGO that has funds to advance conservation goals. A PowerPoint slideshow is used to present the Patagonian landscape, species, and variables that should be considered in conservation decisions.  After the presentation, students are given two maps: the first shows park boundaries, topography, roads, and major land forms; the second includes land prices overlaid on the first. Student groups are assigned a budget, and with the help of a set of guiding questions, they identify and defend a potential land purchase to develop as a protected area. The case is intended for use in an undergraduate class in conservation biology, environmental science, or ecology, and is an extension of another case in our collection titled "The Great Patagonia Land Grab" by C.E. Quinn and J.E. Quinn.


By the end of the case, students should have developed:

  • Knowledge about the history of poor land management and its effects.
  • Knowledge about the many layers of impact associated with invasive species.
  • A better understanding of the complexity of conservation and land-management issues.
  • An ability to think about conservation objectives across a range of temporal and spatial scales.
  • An ability to articulate the difficulty of conserving species that already face extensive habitat loss and modification and threats from invasive species, which now confront a changing climate.
  • Improved skills in landscape analysis and presentation.
  • Ideas about how to involve a range of stakeholder groups to work toward conservation goals.
Keywords: Conservation; protected areas; PA; land use; estancia; ranches; guanacos; huemul deer; invasive species; Torres del Paine National Park; Patagonia; Chile; Argentina; South America
Topical Area: Legal issues, Policy issues, Regulatory issues
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Dilemma/Decision, Directed, Discussion, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Ecology   Environmental Science   Natural Resource Management   Wildlife Management   Interdisciplinary Sciences  
Date Posted: 1/20/2015
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes

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Supplemental Materials

Click the link below to download the Protected-Area-Delimitation exercise in PowerPoint format.

  Protected-Area-Delimitation Exercise

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