In a nutshell
The Cachapoal Model Forest iniative was created to conserve biodiversity and protect community cultural identity by promoting sustainable forest development and creating multi-stakeholder partnerships (public-private-communities) to solve environmental issues in their territory.
The Cachapoal Model Forest area is located in the central Chilean mediterranean eco-region, which is considered a biodiversity hotspot thanks to its high concentration of endemic species and non-timber native sclerophyllous forests, currently under threat from human developments.
Among the main challenges faced by the Cachapoal Model Forest are achieving sustainable natural resource management, restoring degraded landscapes, integrating and participating in other regional projects, attracting new collaboration initiatives, and promoting environmental education.
The Cachapoal Model Forest is located in the central Chilean region, 100 km south of the capital, Santiago, in the Cachapoal province. It contains the Doñihue, Coltauco, and Las Cabras municipalities, with an approximate area of 105,000 ha and 59,611 inhabitants.
The area is irrigated by the Cachapoal river, and in its valley grow vegetables and fruits for export, such as peaches, apricots, apples, pears, berries, citrus (lemon, mandarin and clementine), avocados and grapes. There are also wine producing areas and a thriving honey, poultry, and pig farming industry. Two timber species are produced in the Cachapoal valley —poplar (Populus hibridus) and eucalyptus (Eucaliptus globulus)—, grown by small producers in groves, to demarcate areas, and to use as windbreaks.
The Cachapoal Model Forest territory is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, marked by native sclerophyllous forests, with hardy leaves, resistant to the heat and dry air, such as Quillaia sp. and hawthorn, that produce non-timber products (leaves, bark, wild fruits and herbs used in infusions), as well as by deciduous forests that shed their leaves during winter, with species like oak and Nothofagus glauca.
There are also two protected areas in the region: the state-ran Cobre de Loncha National Reserve, and the private protected area Cocalan National Park. Land use is distributed into 29% agriculture, 25% native forests, 37% grassland and scrub, and 1.6% timber plantations.
The governance structure is a Board of Directors that meets three times a year. At the community level, there are three work groups that meet every two months to analyze projects. In addition, the Cachapoal Model Forest has operating statutes (reformulated in 2017) that regulate its activities and those of its partners.
Board of Directors member institutions:
- ALAMERO (a private company);
- Doñihue public library;
- Lago Rapel Tourism Board;
- Las Cabras Environmental Committee;
- National Forest Corporation (CONAF);
- San Vicente de Paul Agricultural School;
- Solidarity and Social Investment Fund (FOSIS);
- Agricultural Development Institute (INDAP);
- Chilean Forestry Institute (INFOR);
- Río Cachapoal Vigilance Board (2° section);
- Rapel ecological movement;
- Municipalities of Doñihue, Coltauco and Las Cabras;
- Regional Ministerial Environmental Secretariats (SEREMI);
- Energy SEREMI;
- JJVV Doñihue JJVV Community Union.
- To strengthen the creation of public-private-community partnerships and associations, promoting local leadership.
- To promote environmental education and technology transfer.
- To achieve sustainable management of natural and forest resources.
- To ensure landscape conservation and restoration.
Key actions in place to reach these goals:
- Establishing Board of Directors meetings and monthly community work group meetings.
- Preparing environmental and production projects for the competitive fund.
- Following and accompanying adjudicated projects.
- Supporting exchange tours with other Model Forests to promote learning.
- Organizations are internally and externally strengthened; local organizations have more tools at their disposal.
- Local stakeholder enterprises have an enhanced capacity for growth.
- Local stakeholders have better landscape restoration technical capacities.
- More better practices are implemented.
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