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Chilean Winter Rainfall Valdivean Forests Hotspot

This Chilean winter rainfall Valdivean forests biodiversity hotspot runs through 40% of Chile and a small part of Argentina and covers an area of 397,142 sq km. Vegetation types include coastal fog desert, inland desierto florido, coastal and inland matorral and savannas, deciduous forests, high alpine forests and a small patch of coastal forest.

The region has 3,892 plant, 68 mammal, 226 bird, 41 reptile and amphibian, and 43 freshwater fish species. Notable plant species are the araucaria trees (Araucaria araucana), the copihue or Chile-bells (Lapageria rosea), Gomortega keule and Nothofagus alessandri. Birds are not well represented but a few endemics that include the Juan Fernández firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis), the green-backed firecrown (S. sephaniodes and Des Murs' wiretail (S. desmursii) are found here.

Mammalian inhabitants include the Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita), Darwin's fox (Pseudalopex fulvipes), chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), pudu (Pudu puda) and mountain vizcacha (Lagidium viscacia). This is also the only hotspot to house the representative of the entire order, Microbiotheria, represented by the monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides).Reptiles and amphibians endemic to this hotspot include the snakes Chilean green racer (Philodryas chamissonis) and the Chilean slender snake (Tachymenis chilensis), and Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwini) and Chile Darwin's frog (R. rufum).

The problems of urbanisation like setting up of human habitations, construction of highways and hydroelectric complexes have greatly affected the region's habitats. Other threats include human created forest fires, over grazing by domestic animals, especially goats and European rabbits, trade in wildlife and development of coastal areas for tourism. Around 50,745 sq km or 12.8% of the land is under some form of official protection. Conservation organisations in the region include Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Global Conservation Fund and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

[The information has been sourced from the Conservation International website on biodiversity hotspots ( Accessed in February 2008.]

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