The Parque Bosque Pehuén is a Private Natural Reserve of 882 hectares adjacent to the Villarrica National Park and close to the Villarrica and Quetrupillán volcanoes. In the midst of the Araucaria Biosphere Reserve (so declared by UNESCO in 1983), it contains a peculiar biodiversity wealth, characteristic of the Temperate Forest ecosystem.
The park was created in 2006, as a way of materializing the will and commitment of its owners to preserve part of the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Country. That is why its name “Bosque Pehuén” (Pehuén Forest) combines both features of the Heritage, because that was how the Pehuenches, the indigenous people of the place, called the Araucaria (Araucaria araucana), a conifer species representative of this ecosystem which was declared a natural monument in 1990.
The Pehuén Forest seeks to preserve the biodiversity and functionality of its ecosystem through the sustainable management of its natural resources, prioritizing scientific research and education regarding the emblematic species that inhabit this temperate forest, in order to raise awareness and action in the present and future generations.
The Parque Bosque Pehuén is managed by our Foundation under the principle that “to preserve, you need to understand”, and that is why it has been conceived as an outdoor laboratory for scientific study and education. Through these activities we aim to preserve the biodiversity and functionality of its ecosystem, with special concern for its valuable endemic species.
The project objectives are:
- To preserve the species and genetic diversity of the native forest, with special emphasis on species such as the Araucaria or Pehuén (Araucaria Araucana), Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) and the “Monito del Monte” (little monkey of the mountain) (Dromiciops gliroides)
- To generate initiatives of forest protection, including sustainable management and ecological restoration in degraded areas.
- To promote scientific studies together with universities and disseminate the publications on our website and in scientific journals in the world.
- To strengthen the networks of collaboration with national and international multidisciplinary entities.
- To promote environmental education and outreach through activities such as bird watching, hiking, astronomical observation and photography of the property, as well as creating audiovisual material for the general public, with special emphasis on children and youth.
- To promote the development of artistic interventions, such as Land-Art, that seek to exalt the natural beauty and resources of the land.
- With the Parque Bosque Pehuén we want to contribute to enhance Chile’s natural heritage through understanding the complexity of our precious Temperate Forests, and integrating to the circuit the conservation initiatives that prioritize research and preserving the ecosystems for future generations.
For this end, we have currently a Management Plan developed in 2011, which from the diagnosis and the information gathered in the field, aims to “Create a private protected area for the conservation of the threatened species and ecosystems of the Alto Palguin property, developing activities of environmental education, research and special purpose tourism, complementing the conservation actions of the Villarrica National Park, in the vicinity”.
The Management Plan establishes, first of all, zoning the territory, bearing in mind the objectives of development and management, the naturalness of the territory and its environmental risks. This zoning allows us to set restrictions, potentialities and goals for each zone, uniting in a single view the associated risks and location of the activities to be developed in the Parque Pehuén Forest.
Thus, by interconnecting the variables of slopes, vegetation, and state of conservation of wildlife in the park, three zones were established: Preservation, Conservation and Sustainable Use of natural resources. Management goals and restriction to the activities that may be therein developed were set for each one of them. This planning resulted in a Master Plan for the Park.
The Master Plan is a territorial perspective according to the aptitudes of the physical and biological components of the Park. Also, from a thematic viewpoint, different management programs were established which, according to the features of each zone, will enable us to achieve the planned objectives, which are, as follows:
- Management Program
- Protection and Conservation Program
- Research Program
- Environmental Education Program
- Infrastructure Program
As a first step, we have started the Management Plan, implementing the Research Program through a collaboration agreement with the Universidad Austral de Chile, specifically with the Laboratory of Canopy Biodiversity and Ecology of the Institute for Conservation, Biodiversity and Territory of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Natural Resources (SEE FURTHER INFORMATION)
Regarding the legal protection of the property, since 2012 we have been in the process of obtaining the Environmental Qualification Resolution for the conservation and environmental education project with the Environmental Assessment Department of the Araucanía region, through the voluntary admission of projects in the Environmental Impact Assessment System.
In this context, the project was assessed by all relevant public services, which rated favorably its objectives in June 2014, granting the Parque Bosque Pehuén an environmental qualification resolution that will allow us to protect ourselves from potential productive activities, alien to the conservation goals of the Park.
The approved project’s main objective is to develop investments, infrastructure and human activities in a sustainable manner that will enable us to achieve our goals of preservation and restoration of the high-value ecosystems of the Park. For this end, we declare that our activities will be of a low negative environmental impact or a downright positive impact, such as developing scientific research for conservation and environmental education; limiting uses to preserve the ecosystems, threatened species and relict forests; preserving and restoring the ecosystems affected by forestry, among other things.
As a Private Conservation Initiative, we wish to promote with this project scientific research for conservation and environmental education in order to promote sustainable human development, with emphasis on threatened species and ecosystems of the Chilean temperate rainforest zone, where species such as the Araucaria, the “monito del monte”, and Darwin’s frog, among others, can be found.
On the other hand, we consider outreach and education very important, as they increase the culture and awareness of local communities regarding the methods for preserving Nature, allowing sustaining over time innovative projects in preservation and research.
By obtaining the Environmental Qualification Resolution we have joined other private conservation initiatives that have made the effort to voluntarily regulate their activities, aware that we are custodians of a Natural Heritage that is valuable for all Humankind.