Assessment of ecosystem services as an opportunity for the conservation and management of native forests in Chile

TitleAssessment of ecosystem services as an opportunity for the conservation and management of native forests in Chile
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsLara, A, Little, C, Urrutia, R, McPhee, J, Álvarez-Garretón, C, ún, C, Soto, D, Donoso, P, Nahuelhual, L, Pino, M, Arismendi, I
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Pagination415 - 424
Date PublishedJan-07-2009

This paper quantifies two important native forest ecosystem services in southern Chile: water supply and recreational fishing opportunities. We analyzed streamflow in relation to forest cover in six watersheds located in the Valdivian Coastal Range (39°50′–40°05′S), the effect of forest management on streamflow in two watersheds in the Valdivian Andes (600–650 m of elevation; 39°37′S), and fish abundance as a function of forest cover in 17 watersheds located in the Coastal Range and the Central Depression (39°50′–42°30′S). We found that the annual direct runoff coefficient (quickflow/precipitation) and total streamflow/precipitation in the dry summer season were positively correlated with native forest cover in the watershed (R2 = 0.67 and 0.76; *P = 0.045 and 0.027, respectively) during four years of observations. Conversely, a negative correlation was found between summer runoff coefficients (total streamflow/precipitation) and cover of Eucalyptus spp. and Pinusradiata plantations (R2 = 0.84; *P = 0.010). We estimated a mean increase of 14.1% in total summer streamflow for every 10% increase in native forest cover in the watershed. The analysis of streamflow changes between two paired watersheds dominated by native secondary Nothofagus stands, one thinned with 35% of basal area removal and a control, showed that the former had a 40% increase during summer (four years of observations). The best correlation between fish abundance and forest cover was found between trout abundance (%) and secondary native forest area in 1000 m × 60 m stream buffers (R2 = 0.65, ***P < 0.0001). We estimated a 14.6% increase in trout abundance for every 10% increase of native forest cover in these buffers. Similar approaches to quantify forest ecosystem services could be used elsewhere and provide useful information for policy and decision-making regarding forest conservation and management.

Short TitleForest Ecology and Management