Chile is the longest country in the world, stretching over 2700 miles long. The northern region consists of deserts and highlands, in contrast to the southern region which is rich in forests and grazing lands. The central valley, which includes its capital, Santiago, dominates the country in terms of population and agricultural resources. The southern coast contains an intricate maze of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands. The Andes Mountains are located on the eastern border. Chile contains a variety of forest types, including Chilean palm forests, Sclerophyllous forests, prehistoric araucaria forests, temperate rainforests, and alerce forests. Almost every type of temperate forest native to the Southern Hemisphere can be found in Chile . The native forests in Chile harbor an incredible wealth of wildlife, including one of the world’s largest woodpeckers, the world’s smallest deer, and a “mountain monkey”, a small tree-dwelling marsupial considered by scientists to be a living fossil.
to the Forest
Natural forests in Chile have suffered from significant clearing and disturbance in recent decades. Over 95 percent of remaining intact forest is in the southern portion of the country, whereas in the central portion of the country, only a tiny percentage of native forests remain within intact tracts. Due to the high demand for wood products, companies in Chile have begun planting non-native tree species such as the Radiata Pines, which now dominate throughout Chile. Over a tenth of Chile’s forests are fast-growing plantations of exotic species, which have mostly been established on lands cleared of native forests.
Does the US Forest Service Work in Chile?
With the increasing number of visitors to Chile’s national parks and preserves, and the limited number of rangers available to patrol them, there is a growing need for ranger training and developing park infrastructure. Since 2005, the US Forest Service has been providing assistance to Chile ’s Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF) on protected area management issues. Specifically, the US Forest Service has been providing assistance on environmental education, ecotourism, and developing park infrastructure. At Puyehue National Park, the Forest Service conducted an environmental interpretation workshop for rangers from throughout the Chilean national park system. The workshop gave participants the necessary tools to plan and implement effective thematic presentations and interpretive projects. The US Forest Service has also provided support to several protected areas on improvement of their trail infrastructure. In addition, the Forest Service is providing direct technical assistance to CONAF on public use planning in protected areas and geotourism development.
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