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Forests 2013, 4(4), 1087-1105; doi:10.3390/f4041087

Forest Typification to Characterize the Structure and Composition of Old-growth Evergreen Forests on Chiloe Island, North Patagonia (Chile)

1
Chair of Silviculture, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Albert-Ludwigs University, Tennenbacherstrasse 4, Freiburg, D-79106, Germany
2
Faculty of Forest Sciences and Natural Resources, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia, 5090000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 July 2013 / Revised: 29 October 2013 / Accepted: 19 November 2013 / Published: 28 November 2013
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Abstract

The Evergreen forest type develops along the Valdivian and North-Patagonian phytogeographical regions of the south-central part of Chile (38° S–46° S). These evergreen forests have been scarcely studied south of 43° S, where there is still a large area made up of old-growth forests. Silvicultural proposals for the Evergreen forest type have been based on northern Evergreen forests, so that the characterization of the structure and composition of southern Evergreen forests, e.g., their typification, would aid in the development of appropriate silvicultural proposals for these forests. Based on the tree composition of 46 sampled plots in old-growth forests in an area of >1000 ha in southern Chiloé Island (43° S), we used multivariate analyses to define forest groups and to compare these forests with other evergreen forests throughout the Archipelago of North-Patagonia. We determined that evergreen forests of southern Chiloé correspond to the North-Patagonian temperate rainforests that are characterized by few tree species of different shade tolerance growing on fragile soils. We discuss the convenience of developing continuous cover forest management for these forests, rather than selective cuts or even-aged management that is proposed in the current legislation. This study is a contribution to forest classification for both ecologically- and forestry-oriented purposes.
Keywords: forest classification; forest dynamics; North Patagonian forests; Patagonian islands; structural variability forest classification; forest dynamics; North Patagonian forests; Patagonian islands; structural variability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bannister, J.R.; Donoso, P.J. Forest Typification to Characterize the Structure and Composition of Old-growth Evergreen Forests on Chiloe Island, North Patagonia (Chile). Forests 2013, 4, 1087-1105.

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