As Charles Darwin already described, this is an especially beautiful forest. For nature lovers, the Valdivian temperate rainforest is an exact copy of what could be considered the garden of Eden.
When one is immersed in the dense thicket of the Valdivian Forest, in a clearing opened by a large fallen tree or on the side of one of the streams that run through the ancient forest, one has the sensation of being in a lost world, a kind of time capsule that reminds us of how the planet was in other times. Due to the exotic of the plants and animals, the intriguing sounds of the birds, the overwhelming biodiversity that surrounds us … And surprisingly, it is a wonderful sensation supported by scientific evidence: an important part of this jungle managed to survive the ice age and is still very similar to when it originated, some 200 million years ago in what was then the great continent of Gondwana.
The Valdivian rainforest is a true gift of biodiversity In this biome, large, bright-leafed laurel trees coexist along with ancient conifers and lush tropical vegetation of giant ferns, mosses, lichens and climbing plants that flood everything with their eternal greenness. In this ecosystem live exotic beings like the litle mountain monkey, Darwin’s frogs, the pudú, the wink or the puma and is always animated by the murmur of the waters of its streams and the happy trill of picturesque birds such as the huet huet, the chucao, the parrots, the hummingbird, the woodpecker …
Unspoiled landscapes of incredible scenic beauty: infinite beaches, coastal rocky areas full of life, lagoons with crystal clear waters, mighty rivers and pristine forests that host unique ecosystems rich in biodiversity.
laces where it is especially easy and magical to enter into biotictuning. A world that has vibrated harmonically for millions of years and in which miraculously there are still spaces that have managed to survive intact the human presence.
Valdivian jungle. Data of general interest
The Selva Valdiviana is a region of South America of about 240,000 km2 between the parallel 37º S and 48º S that covers parts of Southern Chile and Argentina. Only approximately 119,143 km² maintain their native vegetation cover. However, the area it covers depends on the source consulted, there is no official data on this topic because there is no general agreement as to what type of forests are included. Most experts consider part of the Valdivian rainforest to the tree formations with a predominance of evergreen broad-leaved and bright angiosperms (laurifolias) but there are divergences between whether or not to include the deciduous forests of the Mediterranean climate and the coniferous forests. At best, we are talking about four forest ecosystems :bay leaf forests, deciduous forests, Andean Patagonian forests, and northern Patagonian forests.
These oceanic climate forests are characterized by living in temperate zones near the ocean with average temperatures between 2 degrees and 12 degrees Celsius and by receiving a large amount of rain. However, the temperatures of the Valdivian Rainforest Ecoregion are higher in some areas than in others, the average annual temperature of the city of Valdivia, for example, varies from 5 ° C to 22 ° C, very seldom drops to less than -0 ° C or rises above 27 ° C.
The forest is named after the City of Valdivia, in Southern Chile, which inturn was named after its founder, spniard pioneer Pedro de Valdivia.
As for its biodiversity, it is famous for its endemic plants, its large trees and its unique animal species. It is considered one of the world´s 35 main biodiversity “hot spots”.
Many of the plants found in the Valdivian rainforest are also found in the rainforests of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.
The Valdivian temperate rainforest stands out for the high proportion of flora and fauna endemisms that only exist in this region, known as an ecoregion.
The relationship of this rainforest with its fauna is especially close: Its tropical affinities make it the forest that has the largest number of plants pollinated and dispersed by animals of all the temperate forests in the world.
There are unique species of threatened mammals such as the pudú, the smallest deer species in the world, the monkey of the forest, arboreal marsupials, or the kod kod, or güiña, the smallest species of wild cat in South America.
In the Valdivian Rainforest live some of the oldest tree species on the planet, such as larches, the Olivillo trees and araucarias.
Larch trees resemble the giant redwoods of North America and can live up to 4,000 years. In the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest lives the second oldest living organism with verified age on the planet. This larch is known as the “grandfather of the world”. It is in the Alerce Costero Naional Park and was measured by ring count. He is now over 3,649 years old.
The Olivillo trees, godwana trees, found on the western slopes of the Valdivian coastal region, can live more than 300 years.
It is also home to the Araucaria, an endemic species in the region. Also known as Pehuen in Mapudungun, the native Mapuche language. A tree that has existed since dinosaurs roamed the earth. With diameters of up to 4 meters and heights of 40 meters, some specimens can reach 60 meters
As for marine and river ecosystems, its coasts and rivers are home to countless forms of life: shellfish such as the cherished “locos”, piure, macha or hedgehogs, fish such as snook, salmon, silverside, the saw … Also small and large mammals such as otters, sea lions, dolphins or large cetaceans.
The main threats to this temperate rainforest include felling trees, the pursuit of endangered animals, the development of plantations, and the replacement of native tree species by fast-growing and more short term profitable species.
Because Chile is considered a developed country, it is difficult to obtain funds from the international community for NGOs whose objectives are the conservation and protection of forests and ecosystems.
Charles Darwin described the Selva Valdiviana in his “Travel of a naturalist around the world”. After landing in the Bay of San Carlos de Chiloé in 1834, in his diary he wrote the following:
At a certain distance it would be believed to have returned to Tierra del Fuego, but seen closer, these forests are incomparably more beautiful. A large number of evergreen trees, plants of a tropical nature, replace here the gloomy and sad trees of the southern coasts ”
Much of the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest is considered as “ancient forest“, this is because it is preserved in the original conditions of millions of years ago and because as the human presence has not been so intense, there are still virgin or very little deteriorated areas.
The history of this forest begins 200 million years ago, when the super continent Pangea is divided into two: Laurasia to the North and Gondwana to the South, the latter consisting of present-day South America, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Africa. At that time, Gondwana’s climate was tropical, with high temperatures and high humidity, a favorable factor for the appearance of tropical forests throughout the continent.
During the Cretaceous, Gondwana was divided as well and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, India and Africa moved towards the North. Its climate began changing until reaching a dryness that made the tropical forests disappear, which as we know, need a lot of humidity. The old vegetation of Gondwanic origin could only survive in a few areas where there continued to be a temperate temperature and a great humidity. This is the case of Chile, between 35º and 43º 30 ’south latitude, in the coastal cordillera, called Cordillera de Nahuelbuta and from the Biobío River to the Chiloé Island. In this area, the temperature is moderate and there is a high rainfall thanks to the storms of the Pacific that are pushed by the winds from the west.
During the Pleistocene there was a “biogeographic island effect” that preserved the Valdivian Forest from glaciations: To the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the north by the Mediterranean climate zone with summer drought and to the east by the Andes Mountains they managed the rainforest was protected from glacial ice.
Once the last ice age had passed, the adjacent Andean zone recolonized from this “island” until it expanded to the entire current ecoregion.
From an anthropological point of view, more scientific and historical studies are needed on the reality and way of life of the original people who lived in this place and part of whose descendants still live in the area: The Huilliches, the Huilliches, southern branch of the Mapuche people. And that, despite the fact that there are archaeological sites with quite well preserved ceramic remains with which they have been able to perfectly reconstruct everyday objects and also vestiges of cave inscriptions found in the caves of the area.
Our vision of the Valdivian rainforest
We consider very valuable, intelligent and useful for all of us to keep enjoying these natural paradises, for this reason, one of the main goals of Biotic Tuning as a company is to contribute to its preservation. On the one hand, collaborating with those organizations, entities and institutions that make its conservation possible, such as national parks, nature reserves, conservationist foundations, private parks and all those who in one way or another protect it. And on the other, supporting the natives and local people to appreciate how scarce is nowadays their enormous wealth and to find in sustainable and conscious tourism a source of income that replaces both intensive felling of large trees as an economic resource (firewood, construction, planting …) as well as the systematic elimination of endangered species such as guiña or cougar, considered ancestral enemies of their cattle and therefore a threat to their way of life.