WWF in Chile - Our work

WWF's studies of the pudu and huemul deer, which started 10 years ago, catalysed plans for further habitat and species protection across the borders of Chile and Argentina.

Over the last 5 years, WWF has worked to establish strong social and scientific foundations for conservation through a cooperative assessment, a rapid biodiversity assessment in the Chilean Coastal Range, the support for the certification of sustainable forestry and the development of various coalitions and networks.

In January 2002 the Chilean government and the Coastal Range Coalition signed an Agreement to redefine the routing of the Coastal Range Road and establish the mechanisms for the creation of protected areas along the Coastal Range.

Already 20% built when the decision was announced, the project was changed from a highway designed for extraction of timber to a scenic road with minimal environmental impact.

An important acquisition
In November 2003, WWF participated in a partnership to acquire a 147,500 acres property located at the temperate rainforest in the Coastal Range, long considered a conservation priority by the Chilean Government, and by local and international environmental organizations.

The acquisition will allow the protection and restoration of this unique area with the participation of civil society, local communities, and government authorities such as the Chilean National Environmental Agency (CONAMA), and Chile's National Forestry and Park Service (CONAF).

The Association of Penhuenche Communities
The Mapuche-Pehuenche indigenous populations practice the same traditions as they have for many years; this community lives in the Araucaria (Araucaria araucana) forests, located in spectacular mountain lakes, surrounded by live volcanoes.

WWF has been working with local partners to help "The Association of Penhuenche Communities" to establish an ecotourism infrastructure and services and systems for protecting their Araucaria forests. The indigenous Pehuenche leaders are extremely knowledgeable and charismatic.

Due to strong will and isolation, the Pehuenche people have managed to preserve their language and culture. The Araucaria tree is central to their ritual life; they depend heavily on araucaria nuts as a food source and have been harvesting these in a sustainable fashion for possibly thousand of years.

The Mapu Lahual Indigenous Park
In the Lakes Region of Chile, low rolling hills covered in evergreen coastal rainforest are interspersed with pockets of Alerce trees. The Alerce is unique to the coastal temperate rainforests of southern Chile and is sometimes called "the redwood of South America." A dozen indigenous communities live there.

Their main activity is extracting dead Alerce trees to make shingles. WWF works closely with local people in this area, supporting the creation of Chile's first Indigenous Park and associated ecotourism.

Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) with epiphytes, Araucanía Region, Chile. 
	©  WWF / Edward PARKER
Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) with epiphytes, Araucanía Region, Chile.
© WWF / Edward PARKER
For many years, WWF has worked with the Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora (CODEFF), a non-profit organization in Chile. For more information about CODEFF, Click here.

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