Scientific Paper About Bosque Pehuén Recently Published

An article about the flora of Bosque Pehuén, written by researchers from the Laboratorio de Biodiversidad y Ecología del Dosel at the Universidad Austral in Chile was published in Natural Areas Journal.

Daniela Mellado, Iván Díaz, Javier Godoy, Gabriel Ortega and Ricardo Moreno form the team of researchers who for over the last four years have studied Bosque Pehuén, the private conservation area of FMA, located in the Araucaria biosphere. Scientists in the Laboratorio de Biodiversidad y Ecología del Dosel (Canopy Biodiversity and Ecology Lab) from the Forestry Department at the Universidad Austral in Valdivia published a new scientific paper about the biodiversity of vascular plants found in the nature reserve.

Results showed that Bosque Pehuén is one of the 35 areas in the world identified as a biodiversity hotspot. “In Chile,” the article notes, “most protected areas are found in the Southern Andes, in medium or high altitude mountain landscapes. Despite the increase in these protected areas, very few of them have detailed registers of their biodiversity. This information is essential in defining threats and establishing comprehensive long-term conservation programs to address the effects of global climate change.”

Image of a type of bryophyte under microscope.

The study focuses on two central investigations: describing the richness of biodiversity and the conservation status of related species, and analyzing the plants according to their relationships with other species, the altitude, and their physical development. That fact that this nature reserve contains secondary forests in close proximity with old growth forests and biological legacies is relevant, which grew over a period of intense deforestation (during the 1970’s), because it demonstrates the ways in which a forest can naturally regenerate.

The research team divided the reserve into distinct zones where they recorded all forms of life. They found 101 species of vascular plants, of which 79% are endemic, 10% introduced, and 13% belonging to the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. The highest levels of diversity were found in the riparian zones and waterways of the reserve, with a lower level of biodiversity at higher altitudes; epiphytes and climbing plants were only found at lower altitude levels. This information is vital in designing conservation and growth plans for the fauna of the Andean forests.

To read the paper, please click here.