Floristic composition and evaluation of the degradation of the swampy coastal forest of temu-pitra in the Araucania Region, Chile

The coastal area of the Araucania Region stands out for the presence of wooded wetlands of Temu and Pitra (Blepharocalyo-Myrceugenietum exsuccae), from the association Blepharocalyo-Myrceugenietum exsuccae. These are nowadays affected by antropic activities. We evaluated the vascular flora, the degradation level and the condition of conservation of these forests, working in six basins of the coastal border (Imperial, Comae, Chelle, Boroa, Boldo and Token) of the Araucania Region. For determining the condition of conservation, different methods of evaluation were applied, using both floristic as well as territorial variables. Among these, the valuation of the influence of the adjacent ecosystems on the forest, the human intervention degree, and the relation between the surface of the forest and its basin. We used cartographic information about the distribution and surface of the swampy forest, setting this way the vegetation mosaic and the diversity of the main uses of the soils. The results show that the main uses of the area are agricultural, cattle and forestry activities. The vascular flora of the area consists of 94 species, 14.9% of them are introduced and the major percentage corresponds to natives from Chile and Argentina (64.9%) and endemics of the country (20.2%). Eleven species have conservation problems. At the same time, all the stands show some deterioration degree, being the stands with the highest level of deterioration those located in the basin of the Imperial river, unlike those located in the basin of the Boldo river, that have not been so damaged. We conclude that the average conservation condition of the stands of the whole studied area corresponds to 'degraded', due to the effect of the different human activities carried out in these forests and on the periphery of them as well.

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