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Experimental watersheds and old growth forests in San Pablo de Tregua


Wednesday Nov 7

Full – not available


Includes: transportation, snack and lunch

Temperate rainforests of southern Chile have impressed scientists and travelers even before Darwin, due to their diversity of life forms, high degree of endemism and large long-lived trees. As a consequence of native forest loss and degradation in Chile in the last decades, important ecosystem services are being lost or have decreased. Ongoing research in Chile has started to demonstrate the importance of native forests in the provision of ecosystem services that directly or indirectly benefit society, such as water supply (both quantity and quality). In 2004 we established an experiment of paired watersheds covered with native second growth forests about 50 years old, dominated by Nothofagus obliqua and N. nervosa. These watersheds are located in San Pablo de Tregua, a 2,000 ha-property covered mainly by native forests, owned by Universidad Austral that is located in the Andean Range c. 140 km NE of Valdivia. In the experiment, one of the watersheds (12.6 ha) was thinned, while the other one (7.4. ha) remained as control (unthinned), and have been monitored since 2004.  Getting to the site requires to travel in 4WD trucks or hike for the last 6 km, or hike the total or part of the distance, from the point where the bus can reach. The field trip include: a) visit the paired watersheds, v-notch gauges and field discussion on streamflow response to forest management (thinning); b) hike through impressive mixed old growth forests (basal area 120-140 m2/ha, and  trees ranging between 1.5m – 2.0m in diameter) to the President tree (Nothofagus dombeyi, 4 m in diameter). There is an option to stay in the camp located in the Panco river riparian forests instead of the hike; c) Late lunch. Typical asado will be prepared at the U. Austral camp (meat, salad, potatoes, fruit, drinks). A vegetarian option will be available upon previous request. Departure in 4WD vehicles or optional hike to take the bus back to Valdivia.

  • 140 km from Valdivia (van, 6 km 4W vehicle or optional hike, plus 3-3.5 hour hike).
  • 7:00 am: Departure from Valdivia.
  • 8:30-9:00 pm arrival to Valdivia.


Field Trip at no extra cost


Relevant papers:

Lara A, Little C, Urrutia R, Mc Phee J, Álvarez-Garretón C, Oyarzún C, Donoso P, Nahuelhual L, Pino M, Arismendi I. 2009. Assessment of ecosystem services as an opportunity for the conservation and management of native forests in Chile. Forest Ecology and Management. 258: 415-424.

Oyarzún CE, Godoy R, Staelens J, Donoso PJ, Verhoest NEC. 2011. Seasonal and annual throughfall and stemflow in Andean temperate rainforests. Hydrological Processes 25:623-633

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