Founded in 1999, and one of the research hubs of the Chilean Millennium Scientific Initiative, the Millennium Center (CMEB) brings together reputed ecologists with scientific interests ranging from biodiversity research, biogeography, evolutionary biology and plant reproductive biology to paleobiology and environmental ethics. Its team comprises 11 professors from the universities of Chile, Magallanes, La Serenaand Concepción, and three postdoctoral students.
The CMEB combines basic research with applied projects that address urgent conservation needs while providing solid scientific bases for conservation and restoration planning in natural ecosystems. The exceptional quality of the team’s scientific output, their achievements in Latin American nature conservation and the international impact of their work on diversity hotspots mark the CMEB as one of the world’s institutions of excellence in conservation biology. The Centre is also a reference name throughout Latin America in the advanced training of natural scientists.
It was the CMEB team’s published work on critical areas that led to central Chile’s inclusion among the 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priority. As a result of the group’s research and its implications, the National Environment Commission is creating or enlarging protected areas, the new Chagual Botanical Garden will give pride of place to endemic plant species, the Chilean Forest Stewardship Council has ring-fenced 10% of land for protection or restoration in reforestation projects, and the National Forest Corporation has set up the new Taltal-Paposo National Reserve. Besides these very concrete achievements, the CMEB has shown that industry can contribute meaningfully to conservation by heeding scientific advice.
Research on the southern temperate forests includes biological studies critical for long-range forest conservation strategies, for which the group has strongly advocated recruiting indigenous people and their knowledge. The CMEB’s work on the co-existence of forest species, and their scientific studies supporting the enlargement of conservation areas, are having a positive impact on southern forests, one of the world’s most endangered vegetation types.