Valdivian Rainforest

Wet and jungley with lots of ferns and bamboo undergrowth

Selva Valdiviana – Valdivian Rainforest – The Rainforest at the end of the World named for Spanish explorer Pedro de Valdivia is the 4th largest rainforest in the world at 248,100 km2 behind the Amazon, the Congo, and the New Guinea Rain forests but this one is uniquely different because it is a temperate rainforest meaning it is cool and humid. Rainfall can vary from 2000 to 6000 mm or 80 to 234 inches per year with the wettest time being during the winter. Temperatures can range from 5-22C or 41-72F but can dip down to freezing and over 80F on occasion. The sea only warms up to 16 C or 61F in the summer and the Humboldt ocean current which runs northerly up the coast has a moderating influence on the climate bringing in cool wet weather with westerly winds.

Big trees covered in moss,lichens, ferns, and vines
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The forest extends from 37 degrees south latitude which is around the city of Concepcion in the Bio Bio Region to 48 degrees south which is the Aysen region. Half of the plants are endemic to Chile like the southern beeches in the Nothofagus family, the nalca plant, the bamboo, the fuschia bush, and the copihue vine which is also the Chilean national flower. Since 1860, the immigration of many Germans has changed the landscape of the Valdivian Rainforest. Many hectares of land especially in the Los Lagos region were converted to farming and in the Los Rios and Araucania regions the forests were converted to monocultures of Pine and Eucalyptus for logging. Only 40% of the forest is still in existence but much of it is now protected in vast preserves and national parks. The farther south you go the more remote the parks become and the greater the biodiversity.

This site features many national parks from Los Lagos south including the beautiful Pumalin Park which was donated to Chile by Doug Tompkins in 2017. It is one of the largest parks in South America with 402,000 hectares or 993,000 acres.