Chilean temperate forests

Country/Territory Argentina; Chile
Area 230,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 1500 m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss major
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This EBA embraces the temperate forest zone of southern South America, mainly in southern Chile but also in extreme western Argentina. The northern limits of these forests are at the Bío Bío river on the Pacific coast and further inland north along the Andes, the boundary marking the beginning of an extensive region characterized by a Mediterranean climate of hot, dry summers and wetter, mild winters (see EBA 060). In this EBA there is c.2,000 mm of rainfall annually and 40 days of rain during the summer in the central part at Puerto Montt (Stone 1992).

Immediately south of the Bío Bío river, and south to Valdivia, Nothofagus forest (comprising deciduous species such as N . obliqua and N. procera) is dominant, and further inland on the Andean slopes at this latitude the forest is dominated by Araucaria araucana, with also some Nothofagus and Podocarpus species. South of Valdivia a wetter, more luxuriant and species-rich forest persists (often referred to as the Valdivian rain forest) supporting evergreen trees (principal genera being Libocedrus, Fitzroya, Aextoxicon, Laurelia, Nothofagus and Drymys), some as tall as 50 m and laden with epiphytes and lianas (Stone 1992), and some estimated to be 4,000 years old. Further south still, cold deciduous forests of Nothofagus and evergreen swamp forests are the dominant habitat (Dinerstein et al. 1995).

Restricted-range species

All the restricted-range species are forest-dwellers, many apparently occurring in secondary forest and forests fragmented among cultivation. Columba araucana, Enicognathus leptorhynchus and Eugralla paradoxa do not occur as far south as Pteroptochos tarnii and Scelorchilus rubecula; in fact E. paradoxa is shared with Central Chile (EBA 060), also occurring in the semi-humid sclerophyllous forests in the southern part of that EBA. Both C. araucana and E. leptorhynchus wander widely north into the Central Chilean region outside the breeding season and also occur in cultivated areas, where in certain parts they are considered to be agricultural pests.

Species IUCN Red List category
Chilean Pigeon (Patagioenas araucana) LC
Slender-billed Parakeet (Enicognathus leptorhynchus) LC
Black-throated Huet-huet (Pteroptochos tarnii) LC
Chucao Tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula) LC
Ochre-flanked Tapaculo (Eugralla paradoxa) LC

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
Argentina Aluminé-Moquehue AR225
Argentina Extensión Límite Este y Sur del Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi AR233
Argentina Lago La Plata - Fontana AR243
Argentina Nahuel Huapi National Park and Reserve AR231
Argentina Parque Nacional Lago Puelo - Parque Provincial Río Turbio AR236
Argentina Parque Nacional Lanín AR228
Argentina Parque Nacional Los Alerces y Laguna Terraplén AR238
Argentina Parque Nacional Los Glaciares y adyacencias (Estancias El Sosiego, La Soledad y Anita) AR254
Chile Bahía San Pedro
Chile Corredor Biológico Nevados de Chillán-Laguna del Laja CL050
Chile Estero del Salto Valley
Chile Ibañez River Valley
Chile Isla Mocha CL061
Chile La Tapera
Chile Lago Budi CL063
Chile Lago Lanalhue CL058
Chile Lago Tarahuin
Chile Laguna Malleco
Chile Laguna San Rafael National Park
Chile Mancopulli
Chile Monumento Natural Cerro Ñielol CL064
Chile Monumento Natural Contulmo CL059
Chile Niebla
Chile Parque Nacional Alerce Andino CL073
Chile Parque Nacional Chiloé CL089
Chile Parque Nacional Conguillio CL065
Chile Parque Nacional Huerquehue CL066
Chile Parque Nacional Puyehue CL071
Chile Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales CL072
Chile Parque Nacional Villarica CL067
Chile Parque Pumalin CL090
Chile Pudeto-Quempillén
Chile Reserva Nacional Nonguén CL056
Chile Salto Rayén CL060

Threat and conservation

Intensive logging and timber plantations are especially severe threats to the EBA, and other threats include firewood-gathering and, in the southern part of the EBA, overgrazing from domestic animals and introduced rabbits (Dinerstein et al. 1995). Large areas of old-growth forest have already been lost to logging concessions, and the industry is still active.

However, none of the restricted-range species is currently considered threatened, although two are judged to be Near Threatened. Columba araucana populations were decimated in the 1950s by an epidemic of Newcastle disease (Johnson 1967), but the species has recovered well and is again fairly common.

There are a high number of protected areas throughout the EBA. Indeed, most of its southern end is covered by very large national reserves and national parks, especially part of Katalalixar (6,745 km2) and Laguna San Rafael (17,420 km2).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Chilean temperate forests. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/76 on 24/09/2023.