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The Great Patagonia Land Grab

A Case Study in International Biodiversity, Conservation, and Environmental Politics


Courtney E. Quinn
Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
John E. Quinn
School of Natural Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


This PowerPoint case (~2.4 MB) was developed for an undergraduate, non-majors course in conservation biology. It explores the controversy surrounding land purchases in the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina. According to local indigenous peoples, wealthy individuals are purchasing their ancestral land and then forcing them to leave. Individual landowners and international environmental groups wish to preserve the pristine ecosystems that remain in Patagonia. This case serves as an introduction to stakeholder controversy, the international dimensions of environmental policy, public versus private ownership for environmental protection, and conflict resolution.


  • Understand the role of environmental policy in environmental protection.
  • Explore an environmental issue from various viewpoints.
  • Gain a better appreciation of the many stakeholders affected by environmental decisions and their potentially conflicting goals.
  • Learn about Patagonia and its environmental importance.
  • Gain knowledge of indigenous peoples and their role in environmental protection and policy.


Environmental policy; environmental decision-making; water rights; land use; indigenous peoples; environmental conservation; biodiversity; threatened species; endangered species; Patagonia; Chile; Argentina; South America

Topical Areas

Policy issues, Social issues, Social justice issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division


PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues)



Subject Headings

Natural Resource Management  |   Environmental Science  |   Ecology  |  

Date Posted


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