Revista chilena de historia natural
versión impresa ISSN 0716-078X
MARTINEZ-PASTUR, GUILLERMO J et al. Long-term forest management research in South Patagonia - Argentina: Lessons from the past, challenges from the present. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2010, vol.83, n.1, pp.159-169. ISSN 0716-078X. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2010000100009.
Argentina has based its economy in agriculture and cattle production seeing forests as one of the main obstacles for future development. Forest harvesting in South Patagonia has been an activity based on colonization and exploitation of new areas. Harvesting is mainly carried out in old-growth forests without silviculture management after the first cuts. Beyond this mismanagement, scientific research defined the basis to conserve, protect and improve the present forest management for the South Patagonia native forests. The first long-term study permanent plots (1965-1966) monitored only economic and forest structure parameters, and near twenty plots were established in public forested lands of Tierra del Fuego. Most of these plots were destroyed or discontinued due to a lack of land use planning, scarce social interest for long-term researches, absence of commitment of institutions, and few contributions of forest companies. After this, a second group of nine long-term study permanent plots were established in South Patagonia (1993-2004) based in the collaboration between private companies and national research institutions. The objectives included economic as well as ecological parameters. The new plots were established on private lands based on several agreements and joint venture projects between national institutions, private companies and ranch owners. The main limitations in these processes were: a lack of commitment from the provincial forest administrations, absence of long-term financed projects and a clear forest policy from the government, and that continuity of plot measurements rely only under the responsibility of researchers. The study of the long-term plots allowed: (i) to propose new harvesting systems by maximizing yield and improving conservation value of managed forests (e.g., variable retention and silvopastoral systems), (ii) to determine the economical feasibility of the intermediate treatments, (iii) to define base-lines and impacts of different silvicultural treatments, (iv) to propose a wide spectrum of monitoring methodologies and establish demonstrative areas of forest management, and (v) to provide areas and knowledge to train professionals in forest management and biodiversity conservation practices. The surviving permanent plots in Nothofagus forest in South Patagonia and the obtained information could be used as a starting point to define a regional nucleus that could participate in the International Long Term Ecological Research to improve the use of native forests.
Palabras clave : biodiversity; monitoring; Nothofagus forests; private companies; silviculture.