Chile

The Valdivian Coastal Reserve

Protecting biodiversity and fighting climate change.


The Valdivian Coastal Reserve is part of an ancient temperate rainforest rising from Chile’s southern coastline.

This vast stretch of coastal forest is a remnant of millennia past — when it was connected to the forests of New Zealand and Australia. In fact, some species are more closely related to species from those distant places rather than the Americas. Two of Earth's longest-living species (olivillo and alecre) are located here.

In March 2005, TNC acquired the land where the reserve now stands from a bankrupt forestry company. Since then, the Conservancy has been managing the Valdivian Coastal Reserve. We works closely with neighboring fishing villages and indigenous communities to maintain traditional land uses and encourage compatible local economic development as part of the Reserve’s overall conservation strategy.

Today, the 150,000 acre Reserve is:

  • A unique nature preserve that ensures the protection of native forests and numerous endemic species.
  • A stunning natural environment inviting to both tourists and locals.
  • The site of Chile’s first REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation)
  • A resource for sustainable development projects undertaken by local community groups.
  • A research center working to streamline conservation work in the region.
  • An important native forest restoration pilot site.

Check out the Valdivian Coastal Reserve’s website!


 Erwin Ovando, one of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve park guards, positions a remote camera, used for photographing the presence, distribution and life history of pudu (Pudu puda) and puma (Puma concolor), Valdivian Coastal Reserve, Los Rios, Chile.

We are protecting and restoring the Reserve’s critically important habitats.

Above, Erwin Ovando, one of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve park guards, conducts a routine assessment of gorse, a particularly widespread invasive species in the park due to its remarkable resilience.

The temperate rainforest of the Valdivian Coastal Range extends for one million acres, but before the creation of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, less than 2.4% was protected. Today, the Reserve helps protect an additional 12% of this rare temperate rainforest. The Reserve is protected by numerous, well-qualified personnel committed to its conservation: park guards secure, maintain and inform visitors about the Reserve and a fire brigade is on-hand to put out any local wildfires and protect the forests and neighboring communities.

  • Read about Omar Ponce Toledo, a park ranger that dedicated his life to the conservation of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve.

Erwin Ovando, one of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve park guards, standing among Alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), which can grow up to 4,000 years old making them the second oldest growing tree species in the world, Valdivian Coastal Reserve, Los Rios,

We are transforming how we use and manage nature's resources.

Erwin Ovando, one of the Valdivian Coastal Reserve park guards, standing among Alerce trees (Fitzroya cupressoides), which can grow up to 4,000 years old making them the second oldest growing tree species in the world.

  • The Valdivian Coastal Reserve is the site of Chile’s first REDD (Reduced Emissons from Deforestation and Degredation) program. REDD was developed to highlight the important role of forests in climate change mitigation, and to leverage the financial support of voluntary carbon market participants in order to help ensure the Reserve’s long term protection.
    • TNC developed the program using rigorous scientific methodologies authorized by the globally-recognized carbon standard, the Verified Carbon Standard.
  • Our purchase of the property in 2003 prevented ongoing legal conversion of native rainforest to non-native exotic timber plantations for production of wood pulp, and prevented the completion of a coastal highway that was under construction within the Reserve.
    • These actions to stop deforestation and conversion of forests to alternate uses have resulted in third-party verified greenhouse gas emissions reductions of over 440,000 net metric tons carbon dioxide.
  • The Valdivian Coastal Reserve has become the first forest carbon project in Chile to receive Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCB standards) verification for its carbon credits that combat climate change and contributing to the conservation of biodiversity and to the development of nearby communities.

Erwin Ovando and Danilo Gonzalez both park guards at the Valdivian Coastal Reserve teaching school children from Haihuin Village School about forest ecology in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, Los Rios, Chile.

We are inspiring people to value and advocate for nature.

Above, Erwin Ovando and Danilo Gonzalez, park guards at the Valdivian Coastal Reserve, teach local school children from Haihuin Village School about the magic of  forest ecology in the Valdivian Coastal Reserve.

Alexandra

Alexandra is a fifth grader at the Chaihuín school and participates in the environmental education workshop led by experts of The Nature Conservancy.

She considers this as an important opportunity, because she has learned many things that she didn't know about her region. She talks enthusiastically about the workshop, telling us: “I have learned a lot about the sea, the forest and the species that live there. I didn't know that much and I am happy to have known the teachers from The Nature Conservancy, whom have always been very kind to us and taught us so many good things. What I most liked was to learn about the Colo Colo opossum (Dromiciops gliroides). When I saw it in a photograph that teacher Danilo showed us, I fell in love with it and if you love something, then you must look after it. That is why I look after its house, the Reserve, and pick up the garbage that people leave when they visit us. It is not only the opossum that lives here, I also live here, I share my house with all these animals and trees on the Reserve, I am also part of the Reserve.”

Read more stories like Alexandra’s!

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