The Fauna Australis Field Station, Araucanía: is dedicated to research and education to support the conservation of native wildlife of the Chilean Temperate Rainforest. We aim to advance knowledge and understanding of this unique ecosystyem, its wildlife and people. Details of the work we are doing with students from Chile and around the world can be found here.
The temperate rainforests of Chile contain several species of trees, such as the Southern Beech and the Araucaria, whose closest relatives are found in Australasia and South Africa – living evidence of an ancient land bridge that once connected the southern continents. Several animal species, such as the arboreal marsupial, monito del monte (the only surviving species of the order, Microbiotheria) and the Chilean partrige (tinamou) have their origins on the supercontinent of Gondwana.
Our research aims to understand the ecological needs of native wildlife, and the nature of the threats posed today by invasive introduced species, such as wild boar, Red deer, mink, feral dogs, rats and domestic livestock, and the ongoing process of human development and habitat fragmentation.
This work is carried out by research staff and thesis students of the Catholic University (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile), department of Ecosystems and Environment, and our partner organisations, such as the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University; Imperial College, London, and the Villarrica Campus of the Catholic University.
The Field Station is located in two sites in Pucon. Our accommodation and research facilites are based at Kodkod Meeting Place, a 5ha woodland site at the entrance to the Cañi Sanctuary, 20km from Pucon. We have office facilities in Pucon itself.
Ongoing research aims to be locally relevant, while orientated around global issues identified in the Biodiversity Convention. In this global context, there are three overarching themes – habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive alien species, and climate change – that are having a profound impact on the temperate rainforest ecosystem. These local agents of change are not well understood here, either within the scientific community, nor by land managers, development planners nor the general public.
The Fauna Australis Field Station aims to play a role in orientating people around the real needs of the natural world during this phase of economic and social development. Our studies of species distribution and ecology are firmly based in understanding the human social context of this biodiversity and its conservation with a view to providing practical guidance for those interested to protect our unique natural heritage.