Magallania (Punta Arenas)
On-line version ISSN 0718-2244
TORREJON G, FERNANDO; CISTERNAS V, MARCO; ALVIAL C, INGRID and TORRES R, LAURA. Colonial timber felling consequences of the alerce forests in Chiloé, southern Chile (18TH and 19TH centuries). Magallania [online]. 2011, vol.39, n.2, pp. 75-95. ISSN 0718-2244. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-22442011000200006.
During the Spanish settlement processes the wood from the Alerce tree was the main economical resource of Chiloé (Southern Chile), generating an important commercial activity in the region. The development of the Alerce timber and trading was studied based on historical-documentary analysis including data from the 16th to 19th century. Special attention on the environmental effect was assessed based on the original Alerce forest conditions. Findings allow concluding that the colonial Alerce removal it would have caused only a minor disturbance to the original forest, and it would have taken place within the most accessible Alerzales (Alerce patches) only, contrary to the situation observed at the beginning of the republic period when an enormous Alerce exploitation was experimented. Therefore, it has been proved that the disappearance and extinction of Alerzalesin Chiloé, during the colonial domain, did not occur.
Keywords : Fitzroya cupressoides; foresttrade; Spanish settlement; environmental history.