WWF in Chile - Threats to local biodiversity

Alerce stumps in what was one a temperate rainforest Near Valdivia, Chile. / ©: WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
Alerce stumps in what was one a temperate rainforest Near Valdivia, Chile.
© WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
Chile suffers from widespread deforestation. Each year, 120,000 hectares of its native forests are cleared, and about 80% of Chile's natural forests have been destroyed or degraded. In dealing with the issues of deforestation and the high demand for wood products, companies have begun planting non-native tree species such as the Radiata Pine, which now dominates throughout Chile.

The establishment of non-native tree plantations is considered by many to be the greatest threat to Chile's native forests. Every year, non-native trees replace around 300,000 acres of native forest. In addition to deforestation, Chile suffers from desertification of its landscapes, soil erosion, and air and water pollution.

Under pressure, a globally important "forest frontier"
The Valdivian forests are now under pressure from non-sustainable commercial logging for firewood or timber, conversion to exotic timber plantations, wildfire, overgrazing, and the development of major infrastructure projects.

These threats are greatest in the central and coastal areas of the Valdivian Temperate Forests ecoregion, where very little forest is protected and where pressures from dynamic export industries are more acute.

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