Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forest

Country: Chile
Location: Araucanía, 9th Region
Year joined IMFN: 2002
Area: 400 000 ha
Regional affiliation: Regional Model Forest Network for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC-Net)

Contact information

Name: Washington Alvarado Toledano
Address: Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 0990, Lonquimay
Tel.: 056-045-892055
E-mail: altomalleco@imfn.net
Web site: www.bosquemodelomalleco.cl

Forest and resource profile 

A significant portion of the Mapuche-Pehuenche people live in Araucanía area, along with settlers and agricultural workers, totalling some 26 900 inhabitants. Of the Model Forest population, 15 800 are urban, 11 100 rural, and 5860 are indigenous people; the remaining 21 030 are settlers and people of European ancestry native to the region. Four wildlife areas protected by the government are located in this region: three national reserves and one national park. Wildlife protected areas account for 32% of the total land base. Protected areas include not only native forests but also barren plains (steppe regions), bodies of water, grassland and scrubland.

The area is predominantly mountainous and shares a boundary of about 140 km with Argentina. About 45% of the land base is forested. Second in importance are the areas of grassland and scrubland, accounting for 35% of the land base. The main tree species found in the Model Forest area are Araucaria, a cedar-type conifer called Ciprés de la Cordillera (Austrocedrus chilensis), Lleuque (Prumnopitys andina), Raulí (Nothofagus alpina), Ñirre trees (antarctic beech, nothofagus antarctica), Roble (Nothofagus obliqua), Coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), Lenga (Fireland Cherry), Michay (Berberis heterophylla), Chaura (myrtle tree), and Corcolén (Azara serrata).

 

Land Use
Area (%)
Urban and industrial areas 0.1
Farmland6.1
Grassland and scrubland27.2
Native forests45.5
Forest plantations1.1
Wetlands0.7
Barren plains (steppe regions)4.9
Snow and Glaciers8.4
Bodies of water6.0
Total 100%

Economic profile

Farming, livestock and logging are the main economic activities, both for marketing and for family subsistence. Livestock is the most important: 115 551 animals, of which 21 636 are bovine, 57 121 caprine, 36 965 ovine, 1380 porcine, 4449 equine. From a geographical viewpoint, however, the conditions for farming development are difficult and restricted by the climate and the high proportion of soils of volcanic origin.

Why a Model Forest?

The implementation of sustainable forest management is a highly complex matter for two main reasons: (1) the cattle ranching tradition practiced in the area is immediate in nature and has a high cultural component; also, the value placed on the forest is subjective and low, and (2) the quality of the forest is generally poor, generating low-income products for landowners.

Complex problems necessarily call for multiple solutions. Short-, medium- and long-term measures are required, as well as integrated visions, private-public concerted actions, an inclusive discussion table and, above all, the assurance that the subjects of change will be the agricultural workers themselves. A policy for effecting the changes needed to transform the current deteriorated forests into an engine for development in a sustainable forest management framework requires that a great deal of resources be invested in the natural forests and in technology transfer to landowners. The Araucarias del Alto Malleco Model Forest should act as a catalyst in these situations. It should be the facilitator and, above all, it should provide guidance and a clear pathway, making sure that public policies and private-sector actions are compatible with the goal of sustainable forest management.

Partners

  • Government - 24%
  • Municipal Government - 4%
  • ONG - 16%
  • Farmers and Indigenous people - 40%
  • Municipal Governments -8%
  • Industry - 8%

Strategic goals

  • Recovering and maintaining the cultural diversity within the region; improving communication and inter-cultural knowledge
  • Providing the native forest with new meaning and value as an instrument for human development
  • Securing a large forest mass managed in a sustainable manner
  • Applying proper farming and forestry practices that are compatible with the environment
  • Recovering soils currently damaged by bad farming and forestry practices, through forestation, establishment of grasslands, and environmental education

Accomplishments to date

  • Bringing together the different actors and stakeholders, seeking the active participation of small rural and indigenous landowners
  • Being able to discuss some public policies implemented in the region
  • Seeking national and international recognition through such achievements as being awarded the Prize for Innovation in Citizenship and the Environment granted by the Fundación para superación de la Pobreza; the Bicentennial Prize granted by the Chilean government for the Piñón Project (Araucaria araucana seed); and the designing of a Strategic Plan for 2005-2008 involving all stakeholders

International policy links

In general, our policy is aligned with national and international policies concerned with environmental issues and the sustainability of natural resources, especially native forests. We are currently working on a proposal for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aimed at combating desertification, which is an environmental strategic area of the greatest importance.