Futaleufú Model Forest

Country: Argentina
Location: Chubut province, south of the country 
Year joined IMFNS: 1998
Area: 738 000 ha
Regional affiliation: Ibero-Amercian Model Forest Network

Contact information

Name: Diego Iván Ramilo
Address: Ruta 259 Km 4  - Casilla de correo 14 - Esquel (9200), Chubut, Argentina
Tel: +54-11-1545-641195
Email: futaleufu@imfn.net

Forest and resource profile

This Model Forest is located in the Futaleufú watershed, in the Patagonian region of Argentina. The area includes Los Alerces National Park, provincial land and a few private properties. Some 35 000 people live in the region. 

The Model Forest has a temperate cold forest formation, ranging from sub-humid to humid. Nearly 50% of the region is covered in spontaneous deciduous forests of lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) in the highlands, ñire (Nothofagus antártica) on the plateaus (mesetas), and cypress in the mountain ranges (Austrocedrus chilensis) and perennial forests of coihue (Nothofagus dombeyi). There is also a remnant of alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) in the Los Alerces national park. The lowlands are a mixture of Andean plains and Patagonian steppes. 

Economic profile 

The main economic activities in the region are livestock, forestry and tourism. Agricultural production in the fertile valleys is devoted mainly to livestock, as well as horticulture and floriculture on a smaller scale. The downfall of the wool industry and subsequent changes in national and international markets during the 1980’s had an adverse effect on the area's economy. This has since been alleviated by economic growth fuelled by the tourism industry.

Why a Model Forest?

Cattle raising practices and varied management processes are endangering the forest's natural resources. Very few alternative means of production have been developed in the area. Several local institutions are actively involved in natural resource management, but they lack integration and collaboration. 


The Futaleufú Model Forest (FMF) belongs to a legally constituted Association in the Province of Chubut, including a total of 17 partners, among whose members include:

  • Municipalities of Esquel, Trevelin and Cholila
  • Dirección General de Bosques y Parques [Department of Forests and Parks]
  • Centro de Investigación y Extensión Forestal Andino Patagónico [CIEFAP, Patagonian Andes Centre for Forest Research and Extension]
  • Los Alerces national park
  • Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria [INTA, National institute for agro-fisheries technology]
  • Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia [National university of Patagonia]
  • Asociación “Los Andes” de Productores Patagónicos [Los Andes association of Patagonian producers]

The management and administration unit is composed of an advisory board and a board of directors, run by a coordinating manager and a technical team overseeing three areas: programs and projects, institutional relations and administration.

Strategic goals 

  • Consolidate an integrated planning and management process for natural resources in the watershed 
  • Solve the problems associated with scattered administration units, which govern the management of natural resources in the area 
  • Complement and strengthen the participation and training of local and regional organizations and individuals 
  • Reverse the problems caused by cattle-raising practices 
  • Reach a significant rate of reforestation in the areas affected by resource degradation. 
  • Expand the use of appropriate forestry practices and techniques, in order to sustainably manage the native species used by the forest industry
  • Diversification of economic activities in the Model Forest
  • Extension of the Model Forest

Achievements to date

  • Restoration work in cypress forests affected by fire
  • Small-scale forestation with native species
  • Formation of two producers’ consortia to coordinate forest-fire prevention activities
  • Implementation of a geographic information system (SIG) and training of human resources on this topic
  • Incorporation of sustainability Criteria and Indicators to evaluate management of the native forest
  • Construction of various prototypes for timber homes
  • Establishment of nurseries for forest species
  • Dissemination of marshland (mallines) fertilization techniques 
  • Production and commercialization of aromatic essences
  • Training courses