Environment

The Biodiversity Hotspot Of The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest biodiversity hotspot is famous for its rare and unique collection of flora and fauna that is facing great threat from ongoing human activities in the region.

Where Is The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest Located?

The Valdivian temperate rainforest is an ecoregion based in southern South America’s west coast. The ecoregion covers parts of Chile and Argentina.

Climate Of The Ecoregion

The ecoregion is significantly influenced by the westerlies (winds blowing from the west). As the westerlies arrive at the higher altitudes of the windward slope of the Andes, the water vapor carried by the winds condenses and falls as heavy rain in the ecoregion. Also, the influence of the Humboldt Current results in foggy and humid conditions along the coast. The summer temperatures here can rise to 16.5 degrees while winter temperatures can drop below 7 °C.

Flora Of The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

The ecoregion is characterized by dense collections of ferns, bamboos and evergreen angiosperm trees dominating the landscape. Some deciduous specimens and conifer species also feature in the ecoregion. Thus, the vegetation pattern here can be described as the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. The tree line of the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest is at about 1,000 meters in the south and at about 2,400 meters in the north. The ecoregion is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the world and the only one of its kind in South America. 50% of the woody plants of this ecoregion are endemic in nature. The bamboo plant Chusquea quila is dominant in the humid areas of the ecoregion below 500 meters. The Chusquea coleou is more dominant above. In total, four types of forest ecosystems feature in the Valdivian Temperate Rainforest ecoregion. They are the deciduous forests at the northern end of the ecoregion, the Valdivian laurel-leaved forests, the Patagonian Andean forests, and the Northern Patagonian forests.

Fauna Of The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest

The ecoregion also features an interesting faunal biodiversity including many endemic species. The arboreal marsupial- monito del monte, the world’s smallest deer-southern pudú, and South America's smallest cat- the kodkod are some of the threatened species of this ecosystem.

Conservation Of The Valdivian Temperate Rainforest Ecoregion

The magnificent rainforests of the ecoregion face great threats from extensive logging activities in the region. The indigenous fauna of the region is also being steadily replaced by fast-growing eucalyptus and pines that are used to manufacture pulp and paper. Conservation projects are being launched both by local and international bodies to ensure the protection of the ecoregion’s indigenous flora and fauna.

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