SCIENTISTS TO GENERATE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE FOREST RESOURCES

RESEARCHERS WERE AWARDED CONAF FUNDING AIMED AT INITIATIVES THAT HELP TO PRESERVE, INCREASE AND RECOVER THIS TYPE OF FORESTS.



April 1, 2016

Two projects by academics from our University, selected in the Seventh Contest of the Native Forest Research Fund, will focus on the sustainable management and protection of the native forests. The contest is administered by the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF, in Spanish), to generate new knowledge for the sustainability of this type of natural resource.

Professors Darío Aedo and Ursula Doll, from the Department of Forest Sciences, will be the researchers in charge for the studies: “Evaluation of the Sustainable Management and Productive Chain in Oak Forests” and “Ravin Forests of the Maule Regions Coastline: Evaluation of the Anthropic Impact and Mitigation Proposals”, respectively.

As explained by Professor Doll, from the of Environmental Forest Management Unit, her proposal focuses on 25 ravine forests of the coastal cordillera, between the Mataquito river, in the province of Curicó, and the town of Tregualemu, in the province of Cauquenes. These plantations had been inventoried 30 years ago by Professors José San Martín and Alejandro Troncoso —now retired— and by Carlos Ramirez.

On the importance of these forests, the researcher said that according to the legislation in force, they are registered under the category of “Native Forests for Conservation and Protection”, given that they are linked to “the hydrological cycle of the micro-watershed and its essential role is the protection and conservation of the soil”.

She also said that they belong to the of “Native Forests for Preservation” category, because they are “a habitat of species that present conservation problems”. Among the latter, and included in the project, she mentioned the pitao, the queule and the michay rojo species.

Now we will make a survey of the current state of these forests and assess the impact of human activity on the vegetation and the environment.

Doll indicated that the ecosystems of the Maule Region coastline have been intensively intervened in the past few decades and, in addition to the appropriate assessment, measures to reverse the negative impacts will be proposed.

Contribution

Professor Dario Aedo, specialist in forest certification —from the Forestry Production Unit— will work on the project with the academic Marcia Vasquez, an expert in environmental sustainability. As he explained, his study aims to be a contribution to the small native plantations owners of the region, and especially from the Linares precordillera, where it will focus.

In addition, he observed that these owners do not take advantage of the native forest of their property, in the sense that they do not seek to give added value to this resource and they limit their activity to the making of coal and wood.

“We will do a general survey and then we will work with a pilot sector to determine the productive chains. The idea is to aim at higher-value products than charcoal and firewood. It is possible, for example, to produce activated charcoal to sell to the pharmaceutical, furniture and panels industries.” He said that 60 products can be made from pines, and in his view, it is possible to exceed that figure with native wood.

“There is an underutilization of the resource, and as a university I think that we can make a contribution to the small owners so that they have greater prospects,” he said.

The Research Fund for Native Forest aims to promote and increase the knowledge on matters related to forest ecosystems native. Include recommendations to manage, preserve, protect, enhance and retrieve this type of forest.



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