Corporacion Alerce launches new infographic about world's second-oldest tree

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By Paula Fernandez

The alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides), or lahuén as the indigenous Mapuche of Chile and Argentina call it, is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 200 feet high (60 meters) and about 16 feet wide (5 meters) on its trunk. Considered an endangered species, in Chile the felling of this species has been prohibited since 1976 when it was declared a natural monument.

Rocio Urrutia, president of the Valdivia-based conservation group Corporación Alerce, which is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of the alerce forests in Chile, says that they seek to "raise the profile of this species, to generate more awareness of the alerce so that it will be valued more by society." 

The alerce can live more than 3,600 years and is considered the second-oldest living species after the bristelecone pine of California.

Recently, the group, which was founded in 2004, released this infographic (see below) which shows the different characteristics of this fascinating tree, as well as highlights the threats to its survival, noting that the population of alerce trees in Chile has been reduced by 60 percent over time. Today, they are found in fragmented populations in the Cordillera de la Costa, from Valdivia to Chiloé, and in parts of the Andean mountain range, from Llanquihue to the outskirts of Chaitén. To get a copy of the infographic to distribute, or to find out how you can support their efforts to protect the alerce, visit their website at .