Relevant scientific information for management and conservation of the Pewen biocultural ecosystem in Chile and Argentina
Main Article Content
The forest of Araucaria araucana (“pewen” in Mapuche language), with its associated species of the genus Nothofagus, is unique from an evolutionary, biological and sociocultural point of view. Due to the interdependence and interrelation with the Mapuche-Pewenche people, it is considered a biocultural ecosystem. This work is a comprehensive binational review of current scientific information applicable to its management and conservation. The scientific community contributed with significant advances in the knowledge of: a) the interrelationships within and significance of this biocultural ecosystem; b) the regional genetic diversity; c) the fire regimen, its main drivers, its role in forest dynamics, and the recovery capacity of biodiversity in the face of different burn severities; d) the ecological role of seed production and its unusual interactions with granivorous fauna and cavity nesters; e) the decline and death of the canopy, due to environmental stress and the emergence of new pewen pathogens; f) the consequences of the invasion of pines and exotic mammals that alter the biological interactions and the original ecological processes, and g) the effects of cattle ranching and overexploitation of firewood and pine nuts on ecological integrity and biodiversity. This knowledge is considered essential to strengthen policies and strategies for protection, conservation, and management of this ecosystem, which is endemic, rare, regionally threatened, and globally declared endangered. Considering the identified problems, it is imperative to achieve social empowerment of the Mapuche-Pehuenche people, intercultural respect, and enforcing public policies for the conservation and sustainable use of these forests.