Conservation strategies for biodiversity and indigenous people in Chilean forest ecosystems

  • Armesto J
  • Smith‐ramirez C
  • Rozzi R
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The distribution of Chilean temperate forests has been greatly disrupted by human activities, mainly through logging, land clearing for agriculture, and replacement of native forests by extensive commercial plantations of exotic trees More than Vi million people of indigenous ancestry (mainly Pehuenche and Huilliche) still live in close association with forests in south-central Chile Indigenous people have been forced to retreat, along with the last remains of native forests, towards marginal lands, characterised by low productivity and limited accessibility This process has been driven by a historical trend that reassigned public and indigenous land to private or industrial landowners, and by a Chilean forestry policy that has ignored biodiversity and nontimber forest products, and undervalued native forests by providing costly subsidies to industrial plantations for timber and pulp production As a result of these policies, two major conflicts have emerged indigenous people encroached by timber plantations are resisting the expansion of commercial forestry, and the conservation of the last remains of biologically valuable habitat is at odds with land use claims by indigenous groups in less accessible areas A promising solution to these problems is the development of mixed use landscapes or "extractive reserves", where non-degrading economic uses of forests, such as ecotounsm and harvesting of non-timber products, coexist with the provision of ecosystem services and protection of biodiversity within indigenous land Regulation of land use in extractive reserves requires strengthening traditional knowledge of natural resource use and government incentives to manage and conserve native forests

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecotourism
  • Exotic plantations
  • Extractive reserves
  • Land use

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