Lenga tree nursery proyect
This document provides an overview of the Lenga Tree Nursery Project, part of the overall effort to reforest the iconic Torres del Paine National Park and surrounding areas which have been severely damaged in recent years by man-made forest fires.
Where is the Torres del Paine National Park and why is it important?
The Torres del Paine National Park (the Park) is the crown jewel in Chile’s extensive system of national parks. It is internationally known as a trekker’s paradise and an area of great scenic beauty, with spectacular mountain ridges, crags, glaciers, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and lagoons. It is located in southern Chilean Patagonia, some 5 hours by road from the city of Punta Arenas in the Magallanes region. In 2013, National Geographic ranked Torres del Paine as the fifth most beautiful place in the world. In 2014, over 200,000 travelers visited the Park and visitation is expected to rise 15% per year. Torres del Paine is a region of great biodiversity and has been designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve since 1978.
What is AMA and what has it accomplished?
AMA is a small non-profit environmental organization that operates in and around the Park. AMA aims to protect the natural resources and cultures within the Park and surrounding areas by supporting conservation, scientific investigation and environmental education aimed at minimizing negative environmental impacts and diminishing the risk of future environmental problems. AMA has been in operation for over a decade. It is the only environmental non-profit organization operating in the Park and surrounding area. In addition to its on-going initiatives aimed at environmental conservation and public education.
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What is the problem the Lenga Tree Nursery Project aims to address?
Since 1985, the Park has suffered three major forest fires, all of which were man-made, sparked by Park visitors. These fires, uncontrollable due to strong winds and dry vegetation, burned over 1/5 of the Park’s nearly 600,000 acres (242,000 hectares). The Park’s native lenga tree (Nothpofagus pumilio) has suffered the most from the fires. The loss of the lenga tree has been shown to negatively impact the distribution of other flora and fauna in the Park and degrade critical habitat.
As a consequence, efforts have been underway for some time to reforest damaged areas by replanting lenga trees and restoring habitat important to native species. However, reforestation in Torres del Paine is not easy. It can take a lenga tree 50 years to grow approximately 30 feet (10 meters). A lack of seedlings available for replanting slows the rate of reforestation. Planting can only occur at certain times of the year and, currently, each seedling could cost up to US$5 to plant.
What goals does the Project aim to achieve?
The primary goals of the Project are to:
accelerate the rate of reforestation by increasing the existing supply of seedlings to plant,
decrease the cost per seedling from US$5 to US$3 to increase the value of each dollar spent, and
allow for stronger management of reforestation efforts.
AMA also aims to afford greater on-going opportunities for educating school children and the visiting public about its reforestation efforts and to enhance community involvement in Park stewardship.
How does AMA plan to achieve these goals?
AMA plans to achieve these goals by designing, constructing and operating a nursery for lenga trees destined to help reforest damaged habitat in and around the Park. The nursery is proposed to be located on the Estancia Cerro Paine, the only private property located inside the boundaries of the Park. The Estancia is owned by the family that founded AMA in 2004 and whose members and related businesses have a long history of working toward conservation of the Park and surrounding areas. AMA will manage the nursery and oversee its long-term operation.
What is AMA’s time frame for the Project?
In the next 12 months from now, AMA intends accomplish the following on-the-ground concrete steps in furtherance of the Project:
Finalize the design, location, site preparation and construction of the nursery greenhouse.
Complete installation of the nursery irrigation and fertilization systems and acclimatization area.
Acquire the supplies, tools, vehicles and other items necessary to support initial operations.
Other near- to mid-term steps in furtherance of the Project include the collection of seeds and seedlings for initial operations at the nursery and the fabrication of the growing containers for the first batch of seedlings. AMA also aims to hire the personnel necessary to commence nursery operations, including a full-time individual who has the technical expertise and responsibility to manage the nursery.
Once operational, it is estimated that the nursery will generate between 20,000 to 25,000 seedlings during its first 12 months of operations. Over the approximately 6 years thereafter, the nursery is expected to grow to generate 50,000 to 60,000 seedlings per year.
How will the Lenga Tree Nursery Project be funded?
The total cost of the Project is estimated to be approximately US$74,672 which includes construction costs, costs of commencing operations and an estimated US$14,289 for the first year salary and administrative costs of hiring the nursery manager. AMA has already obtained commitments from its business partners to cover US$58,000 of the total Project costs.
The remaining Project funding and other support are being sought from a membership travel association and other private and charitable sources, which may include organizations such as Sustainable Travel International and the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund.
AMA has a high degree of confidence that full Project funding will be obtained. However, in the event full funding is not secured in the initial stages, AMA has the flexibility to rescale or reschedule first year nursery operations as necessary, until additional funding is secured.