The foundations of preserving the original forest

ARAUCO has several initiatives underway to conserve 300,000 hectares of indigenous forest, from Maule to Los Lagos. The common denominator was the involvement of societies and the opening of scientific knowledge. Bosque Abierto is one of the programs that has raised awareness of the importance of caring for the environment

In central Chile, ARAUCO is the company with an indigenous vegetation – nearly 300,000 hectares – with a wide regional distribution, from Vichuquén and the Maule region to Los Lagos. In addition to sequestering carbon, these forests are essential to protect species and ecosystems that are at a critical degree of conservation.
And to protect you have to know. Both principles are the basis of ARAUCO’s work that promotes local development and conservation of its core: forest production. How? Through an integrated vision of the landscape, where social, environmental and economic aspects meet.
Environmentalists and ecologists have pointed out that nature-based solutions are key to the planet’s sustainability. Alejandro Brown, Argentine expert on biodiversity and sustainable development, and president of the ProYungas Foundation, stresses that nature’s future depends on what the productive world does. “I’m an environmental scientist and I’m convinced that companies have an obligation to protect and conserve nature,” he says.
Through the Bioforest Research Center, ARAUCO develops monitoring to discover the health of ecosystems and manage aspects that help protect 142 threatened plant and animal species in this area. This monitoring uses various technologies, from satellite, lidar, and hyperspectral techniques, to vegetation sectors, identification of arthropods and amphibians, and the use of cameras and bioacoustic sensors in the field.
“In 2008, surveillance was carried out in Karamaveda, Cordillera de Nahuelpota, using cameras mounted on trees and worked on photographic film. Now, we are testing thermal cameras and monitoring with bioacoustic sensors, among other systems to protect and manage life in forests,” as says Raoul Briones, a bioforest researcher at ARAUCO.
Furthermore. The company opens its forests to welcome and promote community initiatives. It is managed and shared with communities, neighbours, children, academics and all those who are part of the areas in which it is developed. This Open Forest Program has appreciated the contribution of trees and ecosystems to serving people and the environment.
“Open Forest is a great opportunity to advance conservation through knowledge. In fact, we are transforming our forests into classrooms for research, education and tourism; as well as promoting sport and forest trade,” says Daniela Sage, Open Forest Program Leader.

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Qewols and Betaus by Cawkins
One case being developed under this program – which ideally combines science and education – is science tourism in the high conservation value Coyoles and Petaus, an endangered species in the Maule Cawkins Valley. Here ARAUCO seeks to educate communities and neighbors about the importance of the queule, a natural monument in the country, protecting a place that is a true reflection of the Maulino coastal forest in central Chile.

“The company’s effort and policy in terms of monitoring the remains of the original vegetation, and bringing it to the present, as well as its intention to open this space for a socio-ecological scientific insight, is commendable,” says José San Martín, an academic at the University of Talca and an expert in botany.
“You have to educate people and make them aware of the experience of being in an ancient forest that you have to take care of. If this experience does not exist, it will be difficult to make society see that these are gifts for future generations,” adds Pablo Ramirez de Arellano, ARAUCO Bioforest researcher.

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