La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve (Chile)

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La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve (Chile)

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 17:55
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Located in the Valparaíso Region of Chile, La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve includes both La Campana National Park and Lago Peñuelas National Reserve. Forests here are habitats for the Chilean Wine Palm.

La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve

La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve includes La Campana National Park and the Lago Peñuelas National Reserve.

Declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve in 1985, the reserve has a surface area of 17,095 ha (42,242 acres) and is located in the Valparaíso Region of Chile.

The relief gently undulates with some small hills and gullies. El Roble (2,222 m or 7,290 ft) above sea level and La Campana (1,920 m or 6,300 ft) are the highest peaks. The major vegetation type is scrubland.

Forests within the La Campana-Peñuelas Biosphere Reserve are habitats for the endangered Chilean Wine Palm. The area harbors one of the two relict stands of Chilean palm (Jubaea chilensis) and roble beech (Nothophagus obliqua) in Chile.

This Biosphere Reserve includes various ecosystems, all hosting endemic species:

  • Hygrophyll forests: are present in the lower parts of gullies and on humid slopes.

  • Sclerophyll forests

  • Deciduous forests of Santiago's oak

  • Palm forests with the Chilean palm species (Jubaea chilensis)

  • Spiny shrub formations with Acacia caven and the Chilean pepper tree

  • Xerophyllous and chusquea culeou shrubland; Highland steppe shrubland; formation of large Puyasor "chaguales."

Although not very abundant, the fauna is diverse. Mammals include the culpeo (Dusicyon culpaeus) and Argentine grey foxes (D. griseus).

Noteworthy birds are the black-chested buzzard-eagle (Geranoetus melanoleucus), red-backed Hawk (Buteo polyosoma), and Chilean mockingbird (Mimus thenca).

Peñuelas Lake consists of a permanent freshwater lake with marshes and grasslands associated with its shores and semi-arid scrublands, including plantations of introduced Pinus and Eucalyptus. The lake supplies water to the cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.

There is also a body of water forming an essential wetland for migratory birds and occasional resident ones, with 125 species of aquatic, riparian and terrestrial birds recorded.

The Biosphere Reserve is almost uninhabited. Therefore, activities carried out in this Biosphere Reserve are mainly of a recreational nature, with approximately 80,000 visitors per year, and also include environmental education.

La Campana National Park

La Campana National Park covers approximately 8,000 ha (19,760 acres) and is home to one of the last palm forests of Jubaea chilensis (Chilean Wine Palm), which prehistorically had a much wider distribution than at present. Chilean Wine Palm groves occur in the Ocoa Valley.

The National Park is in the Chilean Matorral Ecoregion. Besides the Chilean Wine Palm, other typical vegetation species occurring in the park include the Boldo, Litre, Peumo, Patagua, Winter's Bark and Lingue.

Another attraction is the Cerro La Campana, which lends its name to the park. In 1834 Charles Darwin climbed this mountain during the second voyage of HMS Beagle.

La Campana National Park is under the supervision of the Forest National Corporation, CONAF (Corporación Forestal Nacional), which belongs to the Department of Agriculture (Ministerio de Agricultura).

Lago Peñuelas National Reserve

Lago Peñuelas National Reserve was created around Peñuelas Lake, a freshwater reservoir that provides drinking water to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.

The National Reserve, located in the Valparaíso Region of Chile, was declared a protected area in 1952 to protect the drainage of the Peñuelas reservoir and dam, built at the end of the 19th and beginning of the Twentieth century.

Lago Peñuelas National Reserve covers an area of 9,260 ha (22,880 acres) and is traversed by about 12 km (7.5 mi) of Chile Route 68, which is the main highway between Valparaíso and Santiago. Its elevation ranges between 337 and 613 m (1,100 and 2,000 ft).

The reserve's flora includes mixed forest, riparian scrub, deciduous forest and thorny scrub. In addition, exotic tree species are planted in the National Reserve, including Eucalyptus globulus and Pinus radiata.

A total of 120 bird species have been recorded in the National Reserve: Pampas cat (Leopardus colocolo), lesser grison (Galictis cuja), Andes skunk (Conepatus chinga), culpeo (Lycalopex culpaeus), South American gray fox (Lycalopex griseus) are mammal species that can be found here.