Environment

When forests aren't really forests: the high cost of Chile’s tree plantations

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Mongabay.com, by Julian Moll-Rocek- At first glance, the statistics tell a hopeful story: Chile’s forests are expanding. According to Global Forest Watch, overall forest cover changes show approximately 300,000 hectares were gained between 2000 and 2013 in Chile’s central and southern regions. Specifically, 1.4 million hectares of forest cover were gained, while about 1.1 million hectares were lost. 
 

After 2,000 years, California's sequoias face uncertain future

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New York Times - High in the Sierras, biologists are struggling to find ways to protect some of the world’s oldest and most storied trees from drought, forest fires and climate change.
 

Chile's Patagonia seeks small-scale energy automony

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IPS - The southern region of Aysén in Chile’s Patagonian wilderness has the highest energy costs in the entire country. And the regional capital, Coyhaique, is the most polluted city in the nation, even though it has huge potential for hydroelectricity and wind power.
 

Chile’s wildlife is being failed by the government, say experts

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Santiago Times - In a recently published article in Science magazine, a team of researchers coined the term “defaunation” to alert the public of a new phase of animal extinction severely accelerated by humans. Despite this dire trend, though, the Chilean government neglects to take appropriate action due to the propagation of false information, say experts.
 

Setting rivers free: As dams are torn down, nature is quickly recovering

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Christian Science Monitor - “Look underneath you,” commands Nate Gray, a burly biologist for the state of Maine. He reaches down to the grate floor of a steel cage perched on a dam straddling the Sebasticook River, and pulls back a board revealing the roiling river 30 feet below. “All you see is fish.” 
 
Below, undulating in swift current, are the silver backs of thousands of small, sleek river herrings called alewives.
 

Extinct mega penguin was tallest and heaviest ever

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New Scientist - Forget emperor penguins, say hello to the colossus penguin. Newly unearthed fossils have revealed that Antarctica was once home to the biggest species of penguin ever discovered. It was 2 metres long and weighed a hefty 115 kilograms.
 

Magallanes penguins, ambassadors to Patagonia

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Conicet - There are about a million couples of penguins in the region. “One can imagine that the seagull is the most abundant bird in Patagonia; however, penguin populations are ten times larger and have very interesting social lives”, Marcelo Bertellotti, CONICET independent researcher of the National Patagonian Centre (CENPAT-CONICET), comments.
 

Controversial billionaire to gift Patagonian reserve to government

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Santiago Times - Outspoken billionaire environmentalist Douglas Tompkins has defined plans to donate several large tracts of Patagonian wilderness to the Chilean state, the latest and possibly last of the U.S. retired businessman’s grand-scale land gifts in the country.
 

Chilean government strengthens opposition to Japanese “scientific” whaling

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Ecoceanos News - Chilean senators Baldo Prokurica and Guido Girardi, along with representatives of the Chilean NGOs Cetacean Conservation Center and Ecoceanos Center held a meeting with Chilean minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Munoz to deliver the agreement adopted by consensus by the Senate against Japanese “scientific” whaling. 
 

Largest outflow glacier in the Northern Patagonian Icefield is shrinking

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NASA - The Northern Patagonian Icefield in the Andes Mountains in Chilé is a remnant of an ice sheet that covered the region about a million years ago. Though much smaller today, it is still one of the largest temperate (mid-latitude or non-polar) icefields in the world. Twenty-eight exit glaciers flow out of that field, and San Quintín is the largest.
 
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