The Araucarias Biosphere Reserve is situated in the southern part of the volcanic Andes chain in south-central Chile. Conguillío National Park constitutes the core area and includes the Llaima volcano, one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Chile.
The Araucarias Biosphere Reserve is situated in the southern part of the volcanic Andean chain in south-central Chile.
The biosphere reserve includes two formerly separate national parks: Parque Nacional Conguillío and Parque Nacional Los Paraguas. The two former parks are now united and form the Conguillo National Park, which constitutes the core area and a forest reserve, Alto Bio Bio National Reserve, which constitutes the buffer zone.
Conguillío National Park (the core area) is located in the Region of La Araucanía, 148 km (92 mi) northeast of Temuco, Chile. The Conguillío is characterized by forests of Nothofagus with Araucaria (A. araucana) forests, rivers and lakes.
Among the attractions in the park are the Llaima volcano, one of the largest and most active volcanoes in Chile, the Sierra Nevada stratovolcano, and wild landscapes characterized by islands of vegetation completely surrounded by vast areas of lava flows. Around 25,000 national and 1,700 international tourists annually visit the core area.
Alto Bío Bío National Reserve (the buffer zone) has Andean steppe with pasture lands and agro-ecosystems and has a population of about 20 families (1980) engaged in pastoralism.
The most prominent species of the biosphere reserve is the Araucaria, also called 'Monkey Puzzle' or Chilean Pine, which has been declared a natural monument in Chile. Four species of Nothofagus are encountered, as well as Podocarpus andinus and Austrocedrus chilensis.
Among the mammal species, the 'pudu' (Pudu pudu) and 'guanaco' (Lama guanicoe) are particularly noteworthy. The very rare marsupial Dromiciops australis is found within the Biosphere Reserve, and both the avifauna and herpetofauna are very rich. Areas which have been grazed in the past or subject to forest exploitation are all set-aside as ecosystem restoration zones.
The Biosphere Reserve offers a great potential for scientific research and studies have been undertaken, particularly on the reintroduction of the guanaco (Lama guanicoe).