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      Biosphere Reserve Information
     

Chile

LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL

 
       
  General Description   Located in the Valdivian Forest/Chilean Nothofagus biogeographical region, Laguna San Rafael is an area of very varied topography and great scenic beauty. It includes the Continental Patagonian Range with rivers and lakes, the Insular Patagonian Range, the Central Plain and the Patagonian Glaciers. The glaciers feeds the Laguna de San Rafael, a large brackish lagoon where there have been past changes of water levels of great scientific interest. It spans four ecological regions: the cold temperate oceanic, the oceanic sub-Antarctic, the oceanic trans-Andean, and the Andean. The vegetation is very varied and is intact in almost the whole of the Biosphere Reserve. At low altitudes there is a very luxuriant southern beech forest dominated by Nothofagus betuloides and N. nitida with rich and abundant undergrowth of shrubs and tree ferns, and many epiphytes. Between 650 and 1,000 metres there is a sub-alpine forest of the two deciduous beeches N. pumilio and N. antarctica and an alpine zone between 1,000 and 1,300 metres. Around the Laguna San Rafael there are many peaty wetlands and the moraines of different ages carry interesting stages of forest succession. Mammals include Pudu (Pudu pudu), puma (Felis concolor), fox (Dusicyon culpaeus), mustelids (Conepatus humboldtii) and kodkod (Felis guigna). There is no permanent resident population. The site has a high potential for ecotourism and the whole area is available for scientific research. Priority is given to studies related to management, geology, glaciology, inventory of flora and fauna, vegetation succession, and the ecology of animals of special interest.
  Major ecosystem type   Sub-tropical and temperate rainforests, including marine component; mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Coastal and Andean periglaciar areas; lagoon; temperate coastal rainforest; mountainous areas; sub-alpine zone with Nothofagus pumilio and N. antarctica; marine canals; wetlands.
  Location   46°15' to 47°45'S; 72°40' to 75°45'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   1,742,000
  Core area(s)  
  Buffer zone(s)  
  Transition area(s) when given  
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   0 to +4,058
  Year designated   1979
  Administrative authorities   Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael Corporación Nacional Forestal de la Región de Aysén


Last updated: 3/8/2011

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