Central Chilean Coastal Evergreen Temperate Rain Forest

These include a variety of woodland types characteristic of the Coastal Range (Coastal Cordillera). They were also present in the Coastal Depression between the Coastal Range and Andean Mountains before large-scale deforestation took place.  Examples include the famous Valdivian Forests, centred on the town of Valdivia but extending some 250 km from the Tolten River to south of the Llico River, the forests of the Nahuelbuta Range between the Bio-Bio River and the Imperial River, and the forests of the Chiloe Archipelago. The dominant tree species may include Drimys winteri, Eucryphia cordifolia, Nothofagus dombeya, N. obliqua (one of the few deciduous species), Laurelia philippiana, L. sempervirens and Persea lingua together with several endemic species, such as Aextoxicon punctatum (Aextoxicaceae), Weinmannia trichosperma (Cunoniaceae), and the near endemic conifer Saxegothaea conspicua (Podocarpaceae). In poorly drained areas and by rivers two other endemic trees - Tepualia stipularis (Myrtaceae) and the conifer Pilgerodendron unifera (Cupressaceae) may predominate. Other less conspicuous endemic trees and shrubs are Caldcluvia paniculata (Cunoniaceae), Peumus boldus (Monimiaceae), Pseudopanax laetevirens, P. valdiviensis (Araliaceae), and Quillaja saponaria (Rosaceae). These forests also support a wide range of lianas and epiphytic species including several endemic species such as Asteranthera ovata, Mitraria coccinea, Sarmienta repens (Gesneriaceae), Boquila trifoliata (Lardizabalaceae), Elytropus chilensis (Apocynaceae), Lapageria rosea (Luzuriagaceae)and Philesia magellanica (Philesiaceae). Also of interest among these is the endemic temperate bromeliad Fascicularia bicolor (Bromeliaceae). Among the many ground layer species is the large endemic fern Blechnum chilense (Blechnaceae), but many of the endemic vascular plants have very narrow ranges. For example, Haplopappus nahuelbutae (Asteraceae) and Mutisia araucana (Asteraceae) are confined to the Nahuebuta Range. These uplands also provide refuge for the last remaining population of endemic vine Berberidopsis corallina (Berberidopsidaceae). This genus is of considerable biogeographical interest because of its closeness to the Australian genus Streptothamnus.


Central Chilean Fitzroya Forest

These forests, dominated by the near endemic conifer Fitzroya cupressoides (Cupressaceae) are confined to southern Chile and adjacent parts of Argentina. Fitzroya cupressoides can reach heights of up to 50 m, and is one of the longest-lived trees in the World with a life span of up to 3600 years. Remaining forests occur throughout the Coastal Cordillera, the Andean Cordillera and the Central Depression, although only remnant stands occur in the latter. Fortunately the Chilean Government has now declared every living Fitzroya tree a “National Monument”. In the near natural forests of the Central Depression Fitzroya is overwhelmingly dominant, but the endemic or near endemic Caldcluvia paniculata (Cunoniaceae) and Crinodendron hookerianum (Elaeocarpaceae) are abundant sub-canopy trees. Others may include Amomyrtus luma, Eucryphia cordifolia, Gevuina avellana, Lomatia ferruginea, Nothofagus dombeyi, Podocarpus nubigena and the endemic or near endemic Drimys winteri (Winteraceae), Nothofagus nitida (Nothofagaceae), Tepualia stipularis (Myrtaceae) and Weinmannia trichosperma (Cunoniaceae). Under storey shrubs typically include Gaultheria phillyreifolia, Pernettya insana and the endemic or near endemic Philesia magellanica (Philesiaceae). Other shrubs may include Desfontainia spinosa, Myrteola nummularia, Myrceugenia parviflora, Ugni molinae and the endemic Pseudopanax laetevirens (Araliaceae). Lianas are also an interesting feature with species such as Griselina racemosa, Luzuriaga radicans and the endemic Campsidium valdivianum (Bignoniaceae), Luzuriaga polyphylla (Philesiaceae) and Mitraria coccinea (Gesneraceae). The ground layer comprises many ferns especially species of Blechnum (such as Blechnum chilense) and Hymenophyllum species, and a variety of herbaceous flowering plants. The latter include Chusquea macrostachya, Cotula scariosa, Carex fuscula, Eliocharis pachycarpa, Juncus lesveuri, Nertera granadensis, Plantago truncata, Shoenus rhynchosporoides and Uncinia erinacea. Other endemic species recorded in mountain forests include shrubs such as Myoschilos oblonga (Santalaceae), Ovida pillo-pillo (family?) and Ugni candollei (Myrtaceae), and herbaceous species such as Fascicularia bicolor (Bromeliaceae).


Central Chilean Subalpine Nothofagus Forest

Many of these forests are dominated by the south Andean deciduous tree Nothofagus pumilio, but the endemic or near endemic Nothofagus antarctica (Nothofagaceae) may supercede it as the dominant species in places. Associated trees may include other endemic species like Araucaria araucana (Araucariaceae) and Nothofagus macrocarpa (Nothofagaceae) although the latter is restricted to the northernmost forest. Araucaria araucana mainly occurs in the drier zones. This ancient conifer is one of the longest-lived trees in South America and can on occasion reach age of up to 1000 years. Beneath the tree canopy there is often a shrubs layer with species such as Azara alpina, Berberis montana, Escallonia alpina, Maytenus disticha, Pernettya pumila, Ribes magellanicum together with endemics like Berberis rotundifolia (Berberidaceae), Myoschilos oblonga (Santalaceae), while typical ground layer species include Acaena splendens, Astragalus berterii, Dioscorea brachybothrya, Gamochaeta stachydifolia, Perezia nutans, Senecio polygaloides and the endemic or near endemic Alstroemeria spathulata (Alstroemeriaceae), Chaetanthera chilensis (Asteraceae), Codonorchis lessonii (Orchidaceae), Hieracium chilense (Asteraceae) and Senecio eruciformis (Asteraceae). The undergrowth may also include the South American bamboos Chusquea culeou and C. montana. Vines, such as the endemic Cynanchum nummularifolium (Apocynaceae) may be present and Nothofagus trees may support the hemiparasitic shrubs Misodendron linearifolium and M. oblongifolium. At altitudes ranging from 2000 m in the north to 600 m in the south such as on Navarino Island (in the Magellanian BioProvince), these forest reach their altitudinal limit but rather than displaying an abrupt change there is often a transition to the treeless alpine vegetation known as the Krummholz where trees become stunted and twisted forming an elfin-type forest zone. Here the main species is again usually Nothofagus pumilio but may also include N. antarctica or N. macrocarpa. At these elevation N. antarctica can become shrub-like, but N. pumilio seems to be the best adapted to these harsh upland conditions. It is helped by the fact that it is deciduous, but it is also one of the most cold tolerant tree species in southern South America. Other characteristic species of the krummholz include shrubs like Azara alpina, Maytenus disticha, Myoschiloa oblonga, Pernettya pumila, Rubus geoides and herbs such as the endemic orchid Codonorchis lessonii (Orchidaceae) and the endemic or near endemic Adenocaulon chilense (Asteraceae). Throughout these forests many other endemic or near endemic taxa may be encountered. Among the shrub flora are Chiliotrichum diffusum (Asteraceae) and Ovida andina (family?), forbs include Macrachaenium gracilis (Asteraceae) and Quinchamalium chilense (Schoepfiaceae), while a grass example is Ortachne rariflora (Poaceae).

Further information required.



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