Biodiversity - sustainable use of resources

Tree species diversity in the Mediterranean forest of Chile: Do close-to-nature forest management and economy exclude each other?

The natural forest in the Mediterranean zone of Chile (VIII region) is home to a variety of species, of which a high proportion is endemic. Except for a few remaining areas, the former natural forest has been converted into plantations within the last three decades. For economic reasons the plantations consist of invasive tree species, causing a loss of the natural diversity. The aim of the project is the development of silvicultural alternatives that are economically interesting and based on native tree species. These alternatives should promote the re-introduction of native tree species and the associated plant and animal species. Different silvicultural options are compared and evaluated regarding to their impact on plant diversity, growth of the introduced tree species and the economy. Based on the data, a framework will be identified. The management of the natural forest or the cultivation of indigenous tree species (natural secondary forest) should be at least economically equivalent to the cultivation of invasive tree species. Silvicultural recommendations that can be derived from the research results should increase the acceptance of the local community for a sustainable close-to-nature forest management. This will support the key concern of the law of natural forests in Chile from 2008.