Junio 14, 2021 #Knowledge & Science

Southern forests: A natural classroom for studying ecosystems in Chile

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Silent, but never unnoticed, its forests paint the south of our country green. Did you know that Chile’s temperate forests and the dry subtropical forests of our region contain as much biological diversity as the humid tropical jungles? We know a lot about this in Chile, because our country is home to one tenth of the world’s temperate forests. It should therefore come as no surprise that the study of forest ecosystems and the species that live within them are some of the specialties offered at Chile’s universities.

In the Southern Hemisphere, this type of vegetation is found only in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. Southern Chile’s temperate forests possess a unique and distinctive evolutionary history that is reflected in the genetic diversity of their endemic species, such as those of the Coihue or Nothofagus genus. This genetic diversity, which makes these forests so unique, is associated with the pronounced topographical gradients found in South-Central Chile.

Native forests represent 82% of Chile’s forest resources and are crucial for counteracting the effects of climate change, as they capture the greatest volume of CO2 and prevent the land from drying out by protecting the riverbanks and other water sources.

Forest management through ecological silviculture is based on a series of principles: maintaining ecosystems and their diverse structures; using natural forest development models; valuing ecosystem complexity and heterogeneity; and emphasizing diversity and resilience to reduce disruptive risks.

Discover where you can study these forests

  • At the Universidad Austral de Chile you can study a PhD in Forest Ecosystems and Natural Resources. You can also choose the Master of Science, specializing in Forests and the Environment, which provides a solid scientific and technical foundation for studying the changing global socioeconomic and climatic context.
  • Also located in the south of Chile, the Universidad de la Frontera offers students the opportunity to study a PhD in Natural Resource Science, which seeks to produce researchers with an integrated, multidisciplinary vision in the fields of biology, microbiology, soil and environmental physical chemistry, and plant nutrition and physiology, among others.
  • Located near Chile’s temperate forests, the Universidad del Bío-Bío also promotes investigation through its PhD in Science, specializing in Renewable Natural Resources, with an emphasis on terrestrial ecosystems.
  • The  PhD in Conservation and Biodiversity Management offered by the Universidad Santo Tomás includes subjects focused on raising and managing funds and resources for conservation.  The same university also offers a Diploma in Biological Conservation.
  • The Master of Science, specialzing in Biodiversity and Conservation at the Universidad de Valparaíso places greater emphasis on molecular ecology and environmental microbiology, ecotoxicology and phytoremediation. It also studies the ecology of populations and communities, as well as natural biological resource conservation and management.

There is a broad array of academic programs on offer. Learn more about these and other specialties at LearnChile.cl






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