Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana), Chile
Project dates: April 2003 – May 2004 and December 2006 – October 2007
Monkey Puzzle Araucaria araucana, a charismatic tree classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, is found in the Chilean and Argentinean Andes and the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta coastal mountain range in Chile. The conversion of forests to grazing land and the felling of A. araucana for timber have led to a dramatic reduction in the size of populations of the tree in Chile. The species is relatively poorly protected in the coastal part of its range, particularly the southern population at Villa Las Araucarias, which is genetically distinct from all other Chilean populations.
The project, undertaken by the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACH) and supported by the Flagship Species Fund, aimed to assist the local community at Villa Las Araucarias to restore an area of degraded monkey puzzle forest and to train the community in propagation and restoration techniques.
The project succeeded in gathering information that was essential for the conservation of Araucaria and involving local people in the conservation of monkey puzzle in Villa las Araucarias.
Specific achievements include:
• Mapping of the distribution of Araucaria in the area to provide information on the distribution and conservation status of the species. Mapping is also important for the identification of sites for future in situ conservation.
• Sowing of 1000 Araucaria seeds produced in a nursery at the Universidad Catolica de Temuco. Seeds were sown directly into test plots in former Araucaria habitat.
• Construction of a greenhouse by local people at Villa Las Araucarias, on land belonging to the village leader. This greenhouse was built to allow the propagation of Araucaria and other native tree species. Local people were also involved in seed collection, maintenance of plots and the planting of seedlings.
• The planting of 105 Araucaria plants in a restored area of former habitat and the planting of 60 plants of other endangered native species. A further 300 seedlings from a unique population of Araucaria araucana in Villa Las Araucarias are in a nursery for use in future restoration activities. The local landowner agreed in writing to dedicate the land to the conservation and restoration of Araucaria. Planting is still occurring using the seeds collected during this project, with over 500 seedlings being planted out in late September 2008.
• Increased awareness of the conservation and restoration of Araucaria amongst local people, achieved through a workshop (attended by 35 people), presentation at a local school (attended by 600 children) and other events. On a countrywide scale the project was publicised in a national newspaper. Local communities were involved in planting and 35 local people were trained in propagation and restoration techniques.
Download the full project report here: PDF(1.23MB)
We are currently supporting further restoration work through our Conservation Gifts at Tree2MyDoor.com - click for more information and plant a monkey puzzle tree as a gift.
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