Alerce Andino National Park is located in the Andes, in the Los Lagos Region of Chile. The centerpiece of this lush and mountainous protected area is the Alerce forests. The Alerce can surpass 164 ft in height and live over 4,000 years.
Alerce Andino National Park
Alerce Andino National Park is situated in the Chilean Andes, part of the greater Andes mountain system. It is located in the Los Lagos Region of Chile. This national park covers about 393 sq km (152 sq mi) or approximately 40,000 ha (98,842 acres), out of which one-half are Alerce forests.
The National Park forms part of the Bosques Templados Lluviosos de los Andes Australes Biosphere Reserve.
Alerce Andino National Park is part of Chile's scenic 2,800-km (1,700-mi) "Route of Parks of Patagonia" that stretches from Puerto Montt in the north to Cape Horn in the south. Spanning 17 national parks, the Route of Parks encompasses one-third of Chile and protects over 11.8 million hectares (28 million acres).
Chile's Route of Parks map - Thompson Conservation
The National Park is bounded by the Reloncaví Estuary on its east and south sides and by the Reloncaví Sound to the west (excluding a coastal fringe of a few kilometers). To its north lies Chapo Lake.
Vertical walls of granite surround the park's fifty or so lagoons. The park contains about 50 lakes and natural ponds.
The centerpiece of this lush and mountainous protected area is the Fitzroya cupressoides (locally known as Alerce) forests, which consist of pure and mixed stands comprising a total surface of about 200 sq km (77 sq mi).
This regional ecosystem remained isolated from the glaciers that covered the area approximately 12,000 years ago. Today, one in three species in this forest ecosystem is not found anywhere else on the planet.
The Alerce is a towering tree species native to the Andes mountains. The Alerce only grows one centimeter every fifteen years; however, these trees can surpass 50 m (164 ft) in height and live over 4,000 years.
The Alerce only grows one centimeter every fifteen years; however, these trees can surpass 50 m (164 ft) in height and live over 4,000 years. There's almost no telling how old these trees can get since most of the larger specimens were heavily logged in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Many botanists believe they are the second-longest living trees on Earth aside from the bristlecone pine of North America. To date, the oldest known living specimen is 3,646 years old and is appropriately called Grand Abuelo.
Other tree species include Olivillo, Ulmo, Tepú, Mañío, Canelo, Coigüe, and Lenga as well as others.
Alerce Andino National Park provides important habitats for fauna species such as Monito del Monte, the Pudú Deer, the Güiña (Kodkod), the Gray Fox, and the Chingue (Molina’s Hog-Nosed Skunk).
Its lakes are habitats for the Black-Necked Swan, the Coscoroba Swan, and the Mallard. Perch Trout have also been spotted. Other bird species include the Magellanic Woodpecker, the Cachaña (Austral Parakeet), the Chucao, the Hued Hued and the Cachudito (Tufted Tit-Tyrant).