Chile: Forest Resources Overview
|Society of American Foresters||International Society of Tropical Foresters|
Chile: Forest Resources Overview
Forest Resources, Forest Types, Forest Retention, Current Issues, and Forest Protection
|Miguel Espinosa and Eduardo Acuña Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción
Due to its geographic characteristics, Chile possesses a unique natural vegetation that is extended from north to south and from east to west, most of them concentrated in the far south. In addition to the native forests, the country started to build up early in the last century a new type of forest based on exotic plantations, which constitute today the basis of the exports of the forestry sector. The main characteristics of the country and its vegetation, their distribution and the weight of the sector in the national economy, are presented.
Chile is a tri-continental country with territory in South America, Antarctic, and Oceania. It is located in the south-east portion of South America, between 17°30’S y 56°30’S. Chile borders to the north with Peru, to the east with Argentina and Bolivia, to the south with the South Pole, and to the west with the Pacific Ocean. Chile’s continental surface area is 756,096 km2. It is a long, narrow country with a length of 4300 km and an average width of 170 km (IGM 2003). Administratively, it is divided into 15 regions. Its population is 15.1 million habitants (INE 2003). Given its length, it presents a great diversity of environments, from deserts in the north to template rain forests in the south; five macro-regions can be distinguished be certain climate and geographical similarities (Figure 1). Three morphological units can be identified in the Chilean landscape: the Andes Mountains, the Coastal Mountains, and the longitudinal valley located between the two mountain ranges. In the northern region, almost entirely desert, the temperatures are moderate due to the Humboldt Current. The central region is characterized as presenting a template Mediterranean climate with precipitations concentrated in the winter months and which do not surpass 400 mm. The rains increase in the meridian direction, coinciding with a colder climate, principally in the extreme south, where annual precipitations can surpass 5000 mm (ODEPA 2005).
|Of Chile’s total continental surface area, 21% is covered by plantations and natural forests, and the rest is distributed between agriculture (5%), prairies and matorral (27%), vegetation-free areas (33%), wetlands (6%) and other uses (8%) (INFOR 2005). Nineteen percent of the surface area is protected under the National System of Protected Wild Areas, in which natural forests represent only 29% and are located fundamentally in the southern region (from 44°S). The surface area covered with forests consists of 13.5 million hectares of natural forests and 2.1 million hectares in plantations. The natural forests are concentrated in southern Chile from about 40°S, while the plantations are concentrated preferably between 36° and 39°S (Figure 2).|
Chilean natural forests –classified as template forests– given their ample latitudinal range are composed of species adapted to dry climates, like the Chilean palm (Jubaea chilensis) and sclerophyll forests, in central-northern Chile; by pre-historic araucaria (Araucaria araucana) and alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) forests in the central-southern area (37° to 40°S); and template rain forests in the south, adapted to humid, cold climates (40° to 55°S). These forests represent approximately a third of the relatively virgin template forests in the world (Bryant et al. 1997). Indeed, Chile possesses close to 25% of the world’s template rain forests and the second largest area of coastal template rain forests, after the Pacific Northwest coastal area, which extends from northern California to south-eastern Alaska (Wilcox 1996).
At the beginning of the 20th century, the landscape of central-southern Chile gradually came to be occupied by exotic species, principally radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don); and at the end of the 1980s, with species from the Eucalyptus genus. The production and artificial establishment of plants began in Chile at the time of national independence. The genus Populus was introduced from Mendoza, Argentina, in 1810 (Bernath 1940); in 1823 Eucalyptus globulus (Navarro 1961), and radiata pine were introduced from California in 1885 (Pastor 1936, Bernath 1940); and near 1890, Pseudotsuga menziesii and other species that are located principally in parks and gardens were introduced (Anonymous 1918). At the beginning of the 1970s, the planted surface area surpassed 300,000 hectares (Valenzuela 1984), due to the tax deductions contemplated in the Forest Law of 1931 (DFL 265), considered the first forestry law to promote its development in Chile. In 1974, the Forestry Development Law (DL 701), which subsidizes forestation, administration and management activities, was decreed and providing a new impetus to this sector’s development. Together with this law, a management strategy was implemented that reduced State participation, transferring industrial capacity and forestry land to the private sector. In this way, the annual planting rates, on average less than 10 thousand hectares between 1930 and 1970, increased to more than 80 thousand in the decades following the law (Valenzuela 1984, INFOR 2005) (Figure 3). In 2004, the surface area planted is 2.1 million hectares (1.4 million are radiata pine and 0.5 million are eucalypts) (INFOR 2005), preferentially occupying eroded land that is marginal to agricultural and livestock activity
The Forest Sector in the National Economy
The Chilean forest sector, which includes silviculture, wood extraction, and industrial activities like wood elaboration and cellulose and paper production, constitutes the second most important component of the Chilean economy. In 2004, this sector contributed to 11% of Chilean exportations (Figure 4), surpassing four times the values produced in the 1960s (INFOR 2005). In the more than 150 products generated, pulp, sawn wood, roundwood, and woodships are the most important.
Of the 44 millions of m3 of wood used in 2004, 32.9 million m3 (72%) are used in industry and 12.3 million m3 (28%) as firewood. In the last 30 years, given the growth of this sector’s activities, the relation between wood used for industrial and firewood have increased from a 1-to-1 relation in 1975 to more than 4-to-1 relation at present. Of all the wood consumed, 80% (more than 35.5 million m3) comes from plantations and the remaining 20% from natural forests. Firewood is the principal use (85%, equivalent to 7.5 million m3) for wood from natural forests (INFOR 2005).
Anonymous. 1918. Catálogo General N° V. Criadero de árboles Santa Inés. Santiago, Chile. 481 pp.
Bernath, E. 1940. El cultivo del pino, el álamo y el eucalipto. Zíg-Zag. Santiago, Chile. 184 pp.
Bryant, D, D. Nielsen and L. Tangley. 1997. Last frontier forests: Ecosystems and economies on the edge. World Resources Institute. Washington DC. 42 pp.
DFL 265. 1931. Decreto con Fuerza de Ley 265. Diario Oficial de la República de Chile. 26 de mayo de 1931. Santiago, Chile.
IGM. 2003. Espacio terrestre y marítimo de Chile. Instituto Geográfico Militar (Chile). Escala 1:20.000.000. Proyección azimutal equidistante. Santiago, Chile.
INE. 2003. Censo 2002. Síntesis de resultados. Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas (Chile). Available at: http://www.ine.cl/cd2002/sintesiscensal.pdf.
INFOR. 2005. Estadísticas forestales 2004. Boletín Estadístico 101. Instituto Forestal. Santiago, Chile. 159 pp.
Navarro, A. 1961. O eucalipto.2a ed. Companhia Paulista de Estradas de Ferro. Sao Paulo, Brasil. 667 pp.
ODEPA. 2005. Panorama de la agricultura chilena/Chilean agriculture overview. Oficina de Estudios y Políticas Agrarias. Ministerio de Agricultura (Chile). Santiago, Chile. Available at: http://www.odepa.gob.cl/servicios-informacion/panorama/Panorama2005.pdf.
Pastor, V. 1936. El Pinus insignis. Cartilla Forestal. La Nación. Santiago, Chile. 65 pp.
Valenzuela, P. 1984. Contribución del sector forestal a la economía nacional. pp 188-199 En: Actas XI Jornadas Forestales. Concepción, Chile.
Wilcox, K. 1996. Chile’s native forests: A conservation legacy. Ancient Forests Internacional. Redway, California, USA. 148 pp.
Chilean Forest Types
|Chile’s forestry resources can be divided in two principal formations: (i) a large surface area of natural forests (13.4 million hectares) –composed principally by endemic species – which are concentrated in mountainous regions, and especially in the Andes Mountains, at latitudes above 39°S and (ii) a smaller extension of plantations of non-native species (2.1 million hectares), established in central-southern Chile, between 34º and 41°S. The natural forests have been classified in 12 forest types according to the predominant species and their geographic location. This section provides information on the principal characteristics and surface of natural forests and plantations existing in Chile, the substitution of natural forests with plantations, and the dichotomy between the surface area of each resources and their contribution to the Chilean economy.
The vegetation survey identified the surface area of the existing native forests and plantations. A natural forest was considered to be a forest when the trees were higher than two meters and the crown coverage was greater than 25%. The native forests are differentiated according to their structure and coverage: mature forests (primary forest with a fundamentally unevenaged structure), secondary forests (forest origin due to natural or anthropic disturbance), matured-secondary forests (mixture due to forest intervention) and sub-alpine forests (low growth forest – with heights below eight meters – due to limiting environmental conditions).
Of the 13.4 million hectares of native forest, 44% correspond to mature forest, 27% to secondary forest, 6.4% to adult-secondary forest, and the remaining 22.6% to sub-alpine forests (INFOR 2005a) (Table 2). When the protected areas (in areas with slopes above 45% according to actual legislation), the sub-alpine forests, and the forest types with banned logging (Araucaria y Alerce), the forests with species classified as in danger of extinction or vulnerable (Ciprés de la Cordillera, Ciprés de las Guaitecas, Roble-Hualo) (UICN 2001), and the forests with prohibition of substitution (Esclerofilo) are excluded, the potentially productive surface area is 4.7 million hectares (Table 2). However, the net effective surface area should be less if one excludes as well the forests with difficult access, are close to water courses, occupy fragile soils, or have been strongly altered.
Close to 65% of the surface area covered with secondary forests present productive potential (Table 2). These forests, given their origin and their lower structural complexity in general, are quite similar to plantations and present development and accessibility conditions that facilitate their management. A large part of the secondary forests consist of valuable Nothofagus species, which have perpetuated due to their pioneer characteristic (Coihue), coppicing capacity, and gap regeneration strategy, forming in many cases pure stands that today constitute an important resource if commercially managed.
The planted forests represent 21% of the forest coverage in Chile. Of the total plantation coverage, 68% are radiata pine and 23.5% are species from the Eucalyptus genus; the remaining 8.5% include among other species Tamarugo (Prosopis tamarugo), Douglas-fir and Populus sp. The surface area where native forest and plantations are mixed (mixed forests) cover only 86,000 ha (0.6% of the total). (Table 2).
1. Surface area of National Parks, National Reserves and Natural Monuments.
2. Surface area of forest in slopes greater than 45%. Since there is no disaggregated information and to facilitate calculations, the surface area for the forest types Alerce, Araucaria, Ciprés de la Cordillera, Ciprés de las Guaitecas and Esclerofilo forests are considered to the values for adult forests after excluding the values for forests in protected areas). Similarly, the surface areas for the sub-alpine forests were calculated by considering the values not included in protected areas or in slopes greater than 45%.
Source: * CONAF et al. (1999); ** INFOR (2005a)
The different forest types are located throughout the Chilean territory, according to their existence and environmental condition characteristics, and the degree of human intervention. The natural forests are fundamentally found in the far south of Chile, south of 39° latitude, and correspond to 82% of native forest coverage. The forest types Siempreverde and Lenga are concentrated in more than 90% in this area, and 100% of forest types Coihue de Magallanes, Ciprés de las Guaitecas and Alerce (Table 1).
Ownership Regimen and Timber Supply
The native forests are generally privately owned. Land ownership is distributed in the following manner: 67% are owned by small and medium landowners, 4% are larger land owners, and 29% are State property under protection of the National System of Protected Wild Areas (INFOR 2005c). In contrast, the State virtually does not own plantations, and the principal land owners are industrial companies. Indeed, 70% of the radiata pine plantations and 75% of the eucalypt forests are owned by large companies, with the remaining plantations owned by small and medium land owners (INFOR 2005b,c; MINAGRI 2006). More than 50% of the plantations property pertains to two holdings: Arauco and CMPC (Arauco 2006; CMPC 2006).
The relation between the surface area occupied by native forest and by forest plantation does not represent the contribution of either resource to the supply of wood products, which is the only productive value considered in national accounts. Of the total wood consumed by industrial use -44 million m3 in 2004-, 98% comes from plantations and the remaining 2% to native forests, where 61% of the native forest contribution corresponds to firewood and 39% sawn wood (INFOR 2005a).
The small contribution of native forests to the national economy is the result of a long process of resource degradation and fragmentation (Neira et al. 2002), and its gradual replacement by prime material coming from plantations. The principal causes of this situation are selective logging (i.e. logging method by which same of the tree of high commercial value are extracted without silvicultural criteria), illegal logging, forest fires, agriculture habilitation, and the substitution of natural forests with plantations, where the last one is the most controversial.
Although nobody discusses the impact of the substitution on the decline of native forests, the figures differ with respect to its magnitude. Unda and Ravera (1994) estimate the decline at 132 thousand hectares in the period of 1960-1990 and Emanuelli (1996) estimates it at 140 thousand hectares for the period of 1985-1994, where both are national studies. These values represent 3% and 15% of the planted surface area in the first and second cases, respectively (INFOR 2005a). Studies centered between 35° and 37° southern latitude for the 1978-1987 period indicate that 10% of the planted surface area occurred in areas previously covered by secondary forests, which represented 9.2% of the existing native forest (Lara et al. 1989). Echeverria et al. (2006) found for the area between 35° and 36° southern latitude that 53% of the native forest had been substituted by plantations in the period 1975-2000, an area that preferentially corresponds to the Coastal Mountains. These studies present important differences in the methodologies used, the area and time period studied, the definition of forest, and the differentiation between forest and shrub, making it difficult to be precise on the real dimension of the substitution phenomenon.
|Arauco. 2006. Inversionistas: Antecedentes económicos. Available at: http://www.arauco.cl/imagenes/antecedentes2005_02.jpg
During most of the 20th century, the Chilean forestry sector was based in the use of natural forests, even when there was an important surface area planted with radiata pine fundamentally for pulp production. In the last few decades, and coinciding with the dominant innovation within the international forestry industry, this sector’s economic development has been oriented towards plantations. State incentives to plant forests for industrial wood production together with the application of modern management and resource exploitation practices have reduced the demand for natural forest products. Additionally, society has developed a new perspective on natural forests, one that is more related to ecological values than with production goals. The present section describes the evolution in silvicultural practices applicable to native and exotic forestry resources, the actual state of development of forestry management in Chile, and the legal framework.
Since colonial times, human efforts have intervened in native forests, transforming the land for agriculture and cattle-raising use and wood extraction. High-grading, consisting in the extraction of the best and biggest individuals in the forest, was a common practice that degraded extensive surface areas. Indiscriminate cutting and forest fires destroyed a large part of Chilean forests, resulting in large surface areas of second growth forests. After the Forest Development Law was decreed in 1974 (DL 701), native forest exploitation was reduced, and plantations of rapidly growing exotic species began to be intensely developed. Actually, more than 90 % of industrial wood consumption comes from these plantations (INFOR 2005).
This development was facilitated by DL 701, which in addition to regulating, providing incentives, and promoting plantation establishment, it also incorporated the obligation to present a forest management plan prior to intervention. The standards required in a management plan are defined in the General Regulation of DL 701, and they determine the possible types of cuts depending on the slope and forest type (DS 259 1980). In 1994, Chilean Environmental Law (Ley sobre Bases Generales del Medio Ambiente) began to require the presentation of an Environmental Impact Study when the intervened surface area exceeds a certain extension: 20 hectares in northern Chile, 200 hectares in central Chile, and 500 hectares in central-southern Chile, and 1000 hectares in far southern Chile (Ley 19300 1994). However, in contrast to the incentives for plantations, there is no legislation that regulates or promotes native forest management even though a legislation project was presented in 1992.
The silvicultural systems applicable to different forest types include clearcut, seed tree, protection and selection (Smith et al. 1997). The first two systems who imply a greater degree of forest intervention, are applicable to the Roble-Hualo and Roble-Rauli-Coihue forest types on slopes less than 45%, and in both cases a minimum of 3000 plants/ha of the same species homogenously distributed must be established. The protection and selection systems are applicable to most of the forest types, and a minimum of 3000 plants/ha is required in all cases (Table 3) (DS 259 1980).
Even when the actual legislation contemplates the application of the described silvicultural systems, there are few examples of their application and are generally concentrated in the wood production. They do not incorporate an ecosystemic perspective to provide a variety of services and benefits, in addition to wood, that can be obtained from these forests.
Table 3. Silviculture systems applied to the different forestry types.
- This does not include the Araucaria and Alerce forest types because they are classified as Natural Monuments.
Source: DS 259 (1980).
As indicated earlier, the DL 701 triggered the massive establishment of radiata pine plantations, and to lesser extent plantations with species from the Eucalyptus genus. Initially, a conservative silviculture was practiced with radiata pine, with plants produced as a bared root system coming from small, seasonal nurseries. Usually, the soil was not prepared, fertilized, or controlled for weeds. The plants were established in holes at a density of 2000 to 2500 plants/ha, independently of the site conditions and production objectives; thinning –if practiced- was late and of low intensity; the trees were not pruned. The heterogeneity of plantation material and the low level of soil preparation resulted in reduced initial survival rates and in the necessity of replanting during two or three consecutive seasons. Consequently, research was begun to overcome the described problems, and many elements, concepts, and principles used to manage this species in New Zealand were adopted and adapted (Espinosa et al. 1990).
At present, the pine plantations are usually established in densities of 1100 plants/ha with genetically improved material coming from highly technical nurseries. Additionally, the soil is prepared, undesired vegetation is controlled, and the soil is fertilized. The trees are pruned up to 5-6 m in height in successive stages. The trees are thinned early on to produce knot-free wood. The trees are commercially thinned at 12-14 years of age, depending on site quality, and are harvested a 22-26 years of age, obtaining volumes between 400 and 600 m3 ha-1 (Fundación Chile 2005). The final harvest is clearcut, and reforestation of the area is obligatory in the next season.
With respect to the plantations of species of the Eucalyptus genus, which were initially managed as coppicing for their use in vegetable charcoal production and mines, acquired greater importance as prime material for the cellulose industry at the end of the 1980s and the planted surface increased substantially, especially with the species Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens. In the last five years, the annual plantation of these species has experienced greater growth than radiata pine (Figure 5) (INFOR 2005).
The plantations with eucalypts species, as with radiata pine, are intensively managed in 10-14 year rotations for use in cellulose pulp production, achieving harvest volumes between 300 and 400 m3 ha-1 (Fundación Chile 2003). These species are usually established in better quality soils than used with radiata pine, where E. nitens occupies areas with higher altitudes than E. globulus due to its resistance to colder temperatures. Given the permanent changes in the wood market and to obtain greater economic returns, production has been diversified by obtaining saw lumber and veeniers. This new orientation implies early pruning and thinning with the harvest of these stands about 18 years of age (Muñoz et al. 2005). Both species are clearcut harvested with the obligation of reforesting the harvested area in the next season.
DL 701. 1974. Decreto Ley 701. Diario oficial de la República de Chile. 28 de octubre de 1974. Santiago, Chile.
DS 259. 1980. Decreto Supremo 259. Diario oficial de la República de Chile. 30 de octubre de 1980. Santiago, Chile.
Espinosa, M., R. Escobar y F. Drake. 1990. Silvicultura de las plantaciones forestales en Chile: pasado, presente y futuro. Agro-Ciencia 6(2): 131-144.
Fundación Chile. 2003. Eucalyptus nitens: La nueva estrella del sector forestal. Lignum 67: 59-61.
Fundación Chile. 2005. Tablas auxiliares de producción. Simulador de árbol individual para pino radiata (Pinus radiata D. Don): Arquitectura de copa y calidad de madera. Proyecto Fondef D01/1021. Concepción, Chile. 100 pp.
INFOR. 2005. Estadísticas forestales 2004. Boletín Estadístico 101. Instituto Forestal. Santiago, Chile. 159 pp.
Ley 19300. 1994. Diario oficial de la República de Chile. 9 de marzo de 1994. Santiago, Chile.
Muñoz, F., M. Espinosa, M.A. Herrera y J. Cancino. 2005. Características del crecimiento en diámetro, altura y volumen de una plantación de Eucalyptus nitens sometida a tratamientos silvícolas de poda y raleo. Bosque 26(1): 93-99.
Smith, D., B. Larson, M. Kelty and P. Ashton. 1997. The practice of silviculture. Applied forest ecology. 9th. ed. John Wiley and Sons. New York, USA. 560 pp.
|The boom experienced by the forestry sector in Chile in the last few decades, principally based in the expansion of radiata pine and to a lesser extent on eucalypts plantations, has meant that a large part of the produced wood comes from these plantations and that production is oriented towards foreign markets. Indeed, the sector has slowly become relevant within the Chilean economy as the second most important in income generation and is now highly competitive at the international level. To maintain its competitiveness, the Chilean forestry sector has had to adapt rapidly to the changing circumstances: globalization, opening to new markets, new trade agreements, and especially greater environmental social consciousness. Additionally, the consistent development of the sector based in planted forests has also had to face certain local problems and challenges. This section summarizes the principal concerns facing the Chilean forestry sector grouped into four general areas: i) legal and institutional framework, ii) territorial aspects, iii) indigenous populations, and iv) environmental concerns.
Legal and institutional framework
The boom experienced by the forestry sector in Chile in the last few decades, principally based in the expansion of radiata pine and to a lesser extent on eucalypts plantations, has meant that a large part of the produced wood comes from these plantations and that production is oriented towards foreign markets. Indeed, the sector has slowly become relevant within the Chilean economy as the second most important in income generation and is now highly competitive at the international level. To maintain its competitiveness, the Chilean forestry sector has had to adapt rapidly to the changing circumstances: globalization, opening to new markets, new trade agreements, and especially greater environmental social consciousness. Additionally, the consistent development of the sector based in planted forests has also had to face certain local problems and challenges. This section summarizes the principal concerns facing the Chilean forestry sector grouped into four general areas: i) legal and institutional framework, ii) territorial aspects, iii) indigenous populations, and iv) environmental concerns.
Legal and institutional framework
Native forests participate marginally in the generation of wood products, playing instead a role principally related to conservation and as a sustainer for diverse ecosystemic services. In contrast to the commercial plantations promoted and regulated by the DL 701 (1974), which receive a State subsidy, there is no legislation that promotes sustainable native forest management. Distinct initiatives have been proposed, but no legislation has been approved. For example, in 1992, the government at the time presented a project whose objective was to provide a regulatory framework for native forest management, protection and recovery. Still, it was only in 2005 that a legislation project was approved (BCN 2005), and its approval as a Law is still pending.
Even though important forestry sector, environmental and governmental organizations participated in the design of this legislation project, a series of aspects still generate controversy. Among the most important are: i) the lack of an ecosystemic perspective that integrates the biological components and the bio-physical processes together with the social and economic aspects (FORECOS 2003); ii) that the resources used for subsidies should promote conservation of biological diversity as well as providing incentives for native forest management oriented to ecosystemic services and goods; iii) the possibility of commercializing dead wood from declared ‘Natural Monument’ species, such as alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) and araucaria (Araucaria araucana), which can result in illegal cutting and intentional fires in order to obtain authorization to use this wood, and iv) the substitution of the sclerophyle forests on hills that do not have southern exposure or with crown coverage below 30%. This last point refers to a forest type with characteristics unique in the world and has been recognized as one of the 25 hotspots for world biodiversity (Myers et al. 2000). It presently covers a surface area of only 403 mil ha between 30º50'S and 38º00'S (INFOR 2005), occupying a transition zone between the xerophitic vegetation in the north and the forests in the south, surrounded by an expanding horticulture and fruit production that competes for land use.
Considering these factors, it is clear why legal and regulatory frameworks that allow an adequate management of native forest resources are required in the short term. As a result, the approval and implementation of the mentioned native forest legislation project is urgent.
Comparatively Chile possesses one of the highest forest protection indexes in the world under the State Protected Forestry Areas System (SNASPE) with 29% coverage (3.9 million ha); of this area, more than 80% are concentrated south of parallel 39. As a result, the protected surface area is insufficient to shelter and protect the ample ecological and structural diversity of Chilean native ecosystems, which range from deserts in the north, to rainforests and lakes in the south, and steppes and glaciers of the extreme southern zone. The biological diversity in Chile presents special characteristics, recognized by international conservation organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (Dinerstein et al. 1995), due to the existence of unique species and ecosystems and territories with great global ecological value (Davis et al. 1997).
One strategy to maintain, protect, and restore forests, as signaled by Luebert and Becerra (1998), is to expand the protected area network to assure ecological representation of all the forest types, which in Chile is highly variable. For example, the Araucaria forest type is represented in 48.4%, while the Sclerophyle forest type is only represented in 2% (Table 4). Furthermore, the SNASPE does not include any critical native forest area that is in danger of disappearing, not even the coastal forests situated between 35° and 40°S (Armesto et al. 1995), area in which the highest proportion of wood species are concentrated (Villagrán et al.1993). Only a fraction of the species and ecosystems that need protection are represented in the SNASPE (Simonetti 2000), and indeed the extension of some SNASPE protected areas seem to be insufficient for maintaining the populations of the threatened species (Neira et al. 2002). Given that more than 70% of the native forest is private property (MINAGRI 2006), a combined effort between the State and the private sector is required to conserve and protect this resource.
Table 4. Native forest area by forest type and percentage included in SNASPE
Source: *INFOR (2005). ** CONAF et al. (1999).
The controversy associated to land ownership is a recurrent theme since forestry plantations were established in areas that indigenous communities claim as ancestral territory. Within the wide distribution range of plantations, this dispute is centered principally in the region with the highest concentration of planted forests: the central-southern zone, especially between 37° and 39°S. This problem began in the 19th Century with colonization, which implied continuous losses in land controlled by the Mapuche ethnic (DIBAM 2004). In addition to land loss, the Mapuche have had to face the problems of discrimination and poverty, which remain an important issue.
In recent decades, the Chilean State has sought to solve the land property issue by acquiring these lands through the National Corporation of Indigenous Development (CONADI). Currently, this public institution has acquired more than 200,000 ha, which have been transferred to local indigenous communities (CONADI 2006). Efforts of integration between the indigenous communities and forest companies, with the support of the government, have been one of the ways to find integral solutions to this problem, whose unsuspected repercussions can affect the industrial development and discourage new investments.
As the Chilean forestry sector grows and its exporting vocation consolidates, it has had to face new and growing challenges, especially to reduce the negative environmental effects associated with the establishment, management, production and commercialization of its products. Consequently, the forestry sector has had to consider not only Chilean environmental standards, but increasingly it has had to consider the numerous and specific standards required by external markets and the increasingly influential environmental groups. Additionally, the growing environmental consciousness of consumers now requires products that not only satisfy quality standards, but also environmental and social standards.
In response, the forestry sector has voluntarily certified the productive chain. Actually, 91% of the forestry plantations are certified, contrasting with the native forests where only 48,000 ha are certified (INFOR 2005). This strategy implies adopting a series of environmental protection measures that strongly impact in the industrial processes of the forestry sector, such as the limitation on the use of chlorate products in the cellulose whitening process, discharge treatment, and its subsequent elimination into the ocean. Still, even with the improvements incorporated into the industrial production processes, a large part of the negative externalities associated with the cellulose industry were not corrected. The temporary closing of new cellulose plant in Valdivia due to its impact on a nearby Natural Sanctuary and the cautious measures taken with the initiation of the new cellulose plant in Nueva Aldea, located in the principal forestry region in Chile, are clear examples of how a greater environmental consciousness in Chile and the environmental institutions have impacted in the forestry sector. Another example of impact is the series of agreement, including one to not replace native forests with plantations, made by the two principal forestry companies in Chile, CMPC and Arauco, with the environmental organizations Forest Ethics, Greenpeace and Defensores del Bosque Chileno (Defenders of the Chilean Forest) among others (Forest Ethics 2006).
Even when it is clear that the native forest is not an important actor in the production of tangible goods, it does play an important role in providing ecosystemic services such as watershed protection, water production, recreational fishing, salmon-raising, and hydroelectric generation. Almost 70% of Chile’s electric energy supply is generated by hydroelectric dams that are principally located in central Chile (CNE 2006). As a result, the conservation and sustainable management of the native forest are closely related to the production of hydroelectric energy, and this indirect forest use has an economic relevance beyond the energy sector. The construction of four hydroelectric dams in the Chilean Patagonia in an area covered with the highest concentration of relatively untouched native forests presents a dilemma for the conservation of this resource or its partial utilization for energy generation. Faced with uncertain energy supply, the hydroelectric dams that could be established in the Baker and Pascua Rivers are an alternative that would satisfy 33% of the energy deficit predicted for 2015 (ENDESA 2006). All social actors should participate in determining the best option to follow, one which will harmonize economic development and social well-being with environmental protection.
Armesto, J., R. Rozzi, y P. León-Lobos. 1995. Ecología de los bosques chilenos: síntesis y proyecciones. pp 405-421 In: Ecología de los bosques nativos de Chile. Armesto, J., C. Villagrán y M. Arroyo (Eds). Editorial Universitaria. Santiago, Chile.
BCN. 2005. Texto Proyecto de Ley sobre recuperación del bosque nativo y fomento forestal, November 2005. Available at: http://sil.congreso.cl/docsil/info6815.zip.
CNE. 2006. Unidades generadoras sistema interconectado central: mayo de 2006. Comisión Nacional de Energía. Available at: http://www.cne.cl/estadisticas/nacionales/electricidad/f_precio.html .
CONADI. 2006. Logros. Corporación Nacional de Desarrollo Indígena. Available at: http://www.conadi.cl/logros.htm.
CONAF, CONAMA, BIRF. 1999. Catastro y evaluación de los recursos vegetacionales nativos de Chile. Informe Nacional con Variables Ambientales. Santiago, Chile. 88 pp. Davis, S.D., V.H. Heywood, O. Herrera MacBryde and A.C. Hamilton (Eds.). 1997. Centres of plant diversity: A guide and strategy for their conservation. Volume 3: The Americas. WWF and IUCN. London, UK.
DL. 701. 1974. Diario oficial de la República de Chile. 28 de octubre de 1974. Santiago, Chile.
DIBAM. 2004. Ocupación de la Araucanía (1860-1883). El fin de la autonomía territorial mapuche. Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivos y Museos. Available at: www.memoriachilena.cl/mchilena01//temas/index.asp?id_ut=ocupaciondelaaraucaniaenelchilerepublicano(1860-1883).
Dinerstein, E., D. Olson, D. Graham, A. Webster, S. Primm, M. Bookbinder and G. Ledec. 1995. A conservation assessment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. WWF/World Bank. Cambridge, U.K.
ENDESA. 2006. Endesa Chile acuerda incorporar al Grupo Matte en un nuevo proyecto hidroeléctrico de 2.400 MW. Available at: http://www.endesa.es.
FORECOS. 2003. Flora de Chile. Available at: http:// www.forecos.net/floradechile/Tipos_Forestales.htm.
Forest Ethics. 2006. Text of joint solutions project agreement. Available at: http://www.forestethics.org/html/eng/793.shtml.
INFOR. 2005. Estadísticas forestales 2004. Boletín Estadístico 101. Instituto Forestal. Santiago, Chile. 159 pp.
Luebert, F. y P. Becerra. 1998. Representatividad vegetacional del Sistema Nacional de Áreas Silvestres Protegidas del Estado (SNASPE) en Chile. Ambiente y Desarrollo 14: 62-69. MINAGRI. 2006. Memoria 2000-2006. Ministerio de Agricultura. Santiago, Chile. 152 pp.
Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca and J. Kent. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403 (24): 853-858.
Neira, E., H. Verscheure and C. Revenga. 2002. Chile's frontier forests: conserving a global treasure. Available at: http://pdf.wri.org/gfw_chile_full.pdf.
Simonetti, J. 2000. Diversidad biológica. pp 177-201 En: Informe país: el estado del medio ambiente en Chile-1999. Colección Sociedad Estado y Políticas Públicas. Centro de Análisis de
Políticas Públicas, Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile. 425 pp.
Villagrán, C., J. Varela, H. Fuenzalida, H. Veit, J. Armesto, J. Aravena y L. Hedin. 1993. Antecedentes geomorfológicos y vegetacionales para el análisis del Cuaternario de la Región de Los Lagos de Chile. pp 1-50 En: El Cuaternario de la Región de Los Lagos del sur de Chile.
Villagrán, C. (ed). Editorial Universitaria. Santiago, Chile.
Pests in Natural Forests
Pests in Planted Forests
Submitted: August 2006
|6 - Supporting Documents|
|a.) Table 1 - Media:ChileForestResources-Table-01.xls|
|b.) Table 2 - Media:ChileForestResources-Table-02.xls|
|c.) Table 3 - Media:ChileForestResources-Table-03.xls|
|d.) Table 4 - Media:ChileForestResources-Table-04.xls|