Futaleufú Model Forest

In a nutshell

The Futaleufú Model Forest is located in the Patagonian Andes forest ecoregion. This ecoregion is a key conservation area for plant species of high ecological value, such as millenary larch forests (which can be as ancient as 3000 years old), and animal species designated as national monuments, such as the Huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus). In addition, glacier, lake and river systems hold an invaluable freshwater treasure for our planet. The Futaleufú Model Forest belongs to the North Patagonian Andes Biosphere Reserve, and World Heritage site Los Alerces National Park (Unesco 2017).

Indigenous communities inhabiting the Model Forest are a fundamental aspect of the region, contributing both tangible and intangible elements to it, such as the Mapuche-Tehuelche cultural patrimony that the Model Forest helps preserve.

Finally, it is important to highlight the local population’s outlook towards largescale silver and gold mining projects. In 2003, a referendum took place in Esquel, where 80% of voters decided to keep mountains as they are today and protect them from any extractive activity. This struggle, which has become a worldwide example, continues to this day, demonstrating that the region’s forest, rivers, animals and glaciers are deeply cared for.


The Futaleufú Model Forest area includes the Los Alerces National Park and the Chubut municipalities of Cholila, Trevelin, and Esquel. With an area of 738,000 ha, the territory belongs to the hydrographic basin of the Futaleufú river in the Patagonian region, belonging to the Patagonia Andean Forest ecosystem. Close to 50% of the region is covered by natural forests, comprising around 375 plant genera. The rest corresponds to high mountain zones, grassland valleys, natural clearings, water mirrors, ice fields, farm lands, urban centers and roads.

According to the 2010 census, the region has a population of 42,679, 76% of which is concentrated in three urban centers (Esquel – 32,343, Trevelin – 7,908, Cholila – 2,228). In addition to the main population centers, there are other rural communities with populations between 100-300 people. The most important ones are Alto Río Percy and Nahuelpan (Esquel), Los Cipreses, Aldea Escolar, Lago Rosario and Sierra Colorada (Trevelin), Villa Lago Futalaufquen (in the Los Alerces National Park jurisdiction) and Villa Lago Rivadavia (Cholila).


The Futaleufú Model Forest seeks sustainable development through actions that foster the empowerment of local communities to strengthen their identity. This is achieved through organizational processes, valuing cultural and natural elements, and promoting local production and services.

Futaleufú Model Forest works closely with rural communities located across the landscape, imprinting a landscape management approach, which is reflected through recent projects.

It is worth noting that these projects were generated from ideas and priorities brought forward from local communities themselves, following the premise that ideas must arise from within communities themselves and then flow outwards.


Strategic goals:

  • Integrated management of the Model Forest planning;
  •  Diversify Model Forest economic activities and;
  • Disseminate information and teach about the Model Forest.

Key actions in place to reach these goals:

  • Promoting the governance platform from the Trevelin municipality, especially among rural communities;
  • Developing community-based rural tourism and;
  • Generating a social media communication strategy.

Key impacts:

  • Seven empowered rural communities are now agents of their own development.

Learn more about Futaleufú Model Forest :

Article: http://www.bosquesmodelo.net/turismo-rural-comunitario-en-el-bosque-modelo-futaleufu/ (In Spanish)




Patagonia, Chubut province

Area (ha):


Regional affiliation:

Latin American Model Forest Network

Year joined IMFN:




Contact information

Juan Manuel Peralta


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