Alerce Costero National Park is a protected area located in the Los Ríos Region of southern Chile. Situated within the Cordillera Pelada, part of the larger Chilean Coastal Range, the national park hosts a forest of endangered Patagonian cypress.
Alerce Costero National Park
Alerce Costero National Park is a protected area located in the Los Ríos Region of southern Chile. Created in 2010, the park spans nearly 25,000 ha (62,000 acres) approximately 137 km (85 miles) west of Valdivia and constitutes Chile's largest protected zone for mainland temperate coastal forests.
Situated within the Cordillera Pelada, part of the larger Chilean Coastal Range, the national park hosts a forest of endangered Patagonian cypress (Fitzroya cupressoides). Constantly threatened by fire, this tree is currently classified as Endangered (EN) and the exploitation of timber is strictly forbidden.
The Patagonian cypress is considered to be the largest tree species in South America and can live over 3,000 years. Individual trees have been reported to grow to 70 m (230 ft) in height and up to 5 m (16 ft) in trunk diameter. Because of its huge size, it has earned the nickname the "redwood of the south."
The Gran Abuelo ("great grandfather") Patagonian cypress tree is located in the Alerce Costero National Park. It is the oldest living tree in South America. The tree stands at more than 60 m tall (196 ft) with a diameter of 4 m (13 ft) and a perimeter of 11 m (36 ft).
Some of the many species of flora and fauna that can be found in Alerce Costero National Park include:
- Alerce (Fitzroya)
- Canelo (Drimys winteri)
- Ciprés de las Guaitecas (Pilgerodendron)
- Tineo (Weinmannia trichosperma)
- Coigüe de Chiloé (Nothofagus nitida)
- Cushion grass (Oreobolus obtusangulus)
- Two carnivorous plants: "rocio del sol" (Drosera uniflora) and "violeta del pantano”"(Pinguicula chilensis)
- Güiña or kodkod (Leopardus guigna)
- Puma (Felis concolor)
- Lesser grison (Galictis cuja)
- Pudú (world's smallest deer)
- Magellanic woodpecker (Carpintero negro)