Cachapoal Model Forest

Country: Chile
Location: Region of Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins, Cachapoal
Year joined IMFN: 2008
Area of Model Forest: 105,000 hectares
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network

Contact information

Luis Andres Gianelli Gonzalez
Tel: +56-72-501536 and +56-72-204650
Email: cachapoal@imfn.net

Forest profile and resources
 
The Cachapoal Model Forest includes the communities of Las Cabras, Doñihue and Coltauco, covering an approximate area of 105,000 hectares, with a total population of 57,683 inhabitants, on land bordered at the south by the Cachapoal River, and to the north by the peaks of the coastal mountain range of the Metropolitan Region.

The territory features a temperate climate with a prolonged dry season, with Mediterranean characteristics and large temperature oscillations between the coldest and hottest months. Roughly speaking, for seven months the precipitation does not exceed 40mm, which is accentuated by the screening effect on the climate offered by the Cordillera de la Costa, which provides less cloudy skies than along the coast.

The flora and fauna found within the territory has protected status thanks to the presence of two units: the state-run national reserve (Reserva Nacional Roblería del Cobre de Loncha) and the Parque Nacional Las Palmas de Cocalán (private); although the latter was declared a National Park in 1971, the presence of private properties made it impossible to apply the decree, though it remains in force to this day.

Economic profile
 
The surface area covered by the CMF can be divided according to land use, with 29% for agriculture, 25% for native forest and 37% meadows and scrubland, in addition to 1.6% for plantations of timber.

Since the conquest of the Colonia, there has been extensive use of the natural resources, such as grain farming, livestock farming, tree harvesting for firewood and charcoal, and the harvesting of fallen leaves from the floor of the forest, all of which have, over time, fed into the degradation and destruction of the natural resources of this territory causing soil erosion and fragility.

Production concentrated in the forestry and agro-fishing sectors, the manufacturing industry and mining, which make up 67% of the regional GDP, 21% of which is from forestry and agro-fishing. In recent years there has been a reduction in the agro-fishing component, which has been compensated by an increase in forest operations (from 29,000 to 361,000 hectares).

Why a Model Forest?

The presence of a significant amount of native forest, the unique biodiversity of the area, and challenges with respect to conservation and sustainable development contributed to the establishment of the Model Forest. In addition, the land is home to a high presence of small business owners who have strong ties to the environment and whose well-being is also connected to the associated economic opportunities. These economic opportunities have the potential to help reduce poverty, a problem that remains strong in the region despite national economic growth.

Meanwhile, the country is experiencing serious problems of inequality and inequity among the population, a situation that is reflected in the Human Development Index (HDI) for the participating communities, which shows a decline in contrast to the improvement in quality of life among the inhabitants.

Note also that, within the territory of the Cachapoal Model Forest, there are two protected areas, one private (Las Palmas de Cocalán) and one under public administration (Reserva Nacional Roblería de Loncha), zones of vital interest in terms of biodiversity for the country. These areas contain ecosystems that are associated with the sclerophyllous forest, as well as species such as the Hualo [Nothofagus glauca] and the Chilean wine palm, both considered vulnerable species, and the belloto del sur [Beilschmiedia berteroana], considered in danger of extinction (all three species are endemic to the region). In addition, there is no land management plan for the zone, which has given rise to improper use of the land and conflict.

Partners

  • Municipalities of Doñihue, Coltauco and Las Cabras
  • CONAF
  • Syndicate of farmers of region six (SINAGRO)
  • Association of apiarists (beekeepers) of Las Cabras, Chamanteras (weavers) of Doñihue, Union of neighbourhood boards of Las Cabras and Doñihue
  • Tourism group “CONTRAGUE”
  • Environmental [?drillers of Coltauco]
  • PRODESAL of Coltauco and Las Cabras
  • CADA, rural tourism of Las Cabras, artisans of Coltauco
  • Doñihue chamber of commerce
  • Touristic group “Ruta Campo”
  • Agricultural school San Vicente de Paul
  • FOSIS
  • Servicio País [social intervention program]
  • CONAMA
  • Provincial administration of Cachapoal
  • INDAP
  • CODELCO
  • Universidad de Chile
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Strategic goals

  • Associations
  • Environmental education
  • Sustainable forest development
  • Conservation and promotion of biodiversity
  • Applied research
  • Technology transfer and expansion
  • Tourism and culture
  • Renewable energies
  • Non-wood forest resources

Achievements to date

  • Authorization process for the Cachapoal Model Forest
  • Participation in the Criteria and Indicators workshop on sustainable forest development, in Jujuy, Argentina
  • Participation in the Global forum of the IMFN, Hinton, Canada
  • Exchange visits with the other Model Forests in Chile
  • Tour with aspiring representatives to the board of the Cachapoal Model Forest, to the Araucaria Model Forest of Alto Malleco
  • Authorization of an agreement to establish a competition-based fund for micro-loans, with resources from the municipalities of Doñihue, Coltauco and Las Cabras, in addition to support from the national forestry corporation (CONAF)
  • Establishment of communal working groups, to analyze the issues at stake and local interests, organized by theme
  • Forestation of 10 hectares of Native Forest with small farmers
  • Development of the project for vermiculture and composting
  • Environmental education chats about the importance of conserving the natural resources in the territory of the Cachapoal Model Forest
  • Promotion of the introduction and use of renewable energy sources with the community
  • Establishment of a collaborative agreement with the Universidad de Chile to work on topics relating to:
    • Agro-forest systems
    • Strategic planning
    • Non-wood forest resources
    • Joint proposal of projects

International political ties

The participation of various public services in the Cachapoal Model Forest initiative is intended to help secure involvement in the implementation of policies designed to contribute to the sustainable development of the country, in both environmental and social terms. Note also that, thanks to the participation in the Ibero-American Network of Model Forests, it is hoped there will be an opportunity to transmit these policies and generate feedback policies, to enrich, diversify and multiply this type of action, contributing effectively to sustainable development with equity for the member countries.