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Declare Araucaria araucana as Endangered species in Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, Chile

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People who accept to sign the following petition, aware of the worrying and uncertain state of conservation of Araucaria araucana (also named ‘Pewen” or “Pino Araucaria”), are willing to express their support for the proposal made in November 2017 by the Chilean Ministry of Environment’s Commission for the Classification of Species. Araucaria araucana (Mol.) K. Koch is a millenary conifer, endemic to Southern Chile and Southern Argentina, a rather small territory. The proposal aims at conferring the Endangered (EN [1]) conservation status to the populations located in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta, a Southwestern region of Chile.

We are making this statement to affirm our support for this proposal with a view to the forthcoming public consultation convened by the Chilean Ministry of Environment (according to the Resolución Exenta N°1310, adopted in November 2017). The goal of such consultation is to enhance public’s involvement in the classification process, by considering the point of view of any person concerned and interested in Chilean biodiversity conservation.

Araucaria araucana is currently considered Vulnerable (VU), whether it is located in the Cordillera de Los Andes or in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta. However, we do believe it is imperative to confer the Endangered (EN) status to this indigenous species in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta given its precarious state of conservation there.

This current worrying situation is the result of a long-term Araucaria araucana forest cover decrease in Southern Chile. It is due to intense logging in the past century and to a massive substitution phenomenon occurring since the last 45 years, which has been replacing the indigenous conifer by fast growing exotic species. All in all, it led not only to a cover decrease but also to a strong population fragmentation, to the deterioration of habitat quality and to a significant loss of biodiversity in these unique primitive forest ecosystems.

The prospects are worrying too considering climate change issues, the intensity and increasing frequency of fires, phytosanitary problems affecting the species and intense seed harvesting for human consumption. By declaring the species as Endangered (EN), the Chilean State will be able and has to initiate rehabilitation programs to recover the initial areas covered by Araucaria araucana in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta. It will this way reverse the current trend of deterioration and disappearance of the species, in this only sector where it has been living apart from the Andes, for millions of years.

Araucaria araucana is a primitive and long-life species, a genuine living fossil. Because it is one of the last remaining relic of the oldest forests on Planet Earth, it should not only be seen as part of Chile’s heritage but as part of the whole Humanity’s heritage.

For all the foregoing reasons, we support the proposal aiming at reclassifying the Araucaria araucana living in the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta into the Endangered (EN) species category. And we count on your support too.

 

Authors of the petition:

Rubén Carrillo López. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Manuel Gedda Ortíz. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Campus Villarrica), Chile

Felipe Fuentes Maldonado. Fundación Senderos de Chile, Chile

Nelson Ojeda Ojeda. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Jorge Baraona Venegas. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Patricio Pacheco Cancino. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Alejandro Herrera Aguayo. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Gustavo Curaqueo Fuentes. Universidad de La Frontera, Chile

Rodrigo Torres Inostroza. Ingeniero Forestal, Chile

Laetitia Wolff. Forest Engineer Student, AgroParisTech, France



[1] According to the categories defined in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species, taken as a reference by the Chilean Reglamento para la Clasificación de Especies Silvestres:

Vulnerable (VU)= facing a high risk of extinction in the wild

Endangered (EN)= facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild



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