Watershed Conservation and Aquatic Benthic Macroinvertebrate Diversity in the Alberto D'Agostini National Park, Tierra del Fuego, Chile Page: 43
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WATERSHED CONSERVATION IN TIERRA DEL FUEGO
The extreme austral tip of South America
is home to the world's southernmost forests. These
ecosystems share a circum-Antarctic taxonomic
affinity with those of New Zealand, South Africa
and Australia, given that they all once constituted
the Gondwana continent. Consequently, the ex-
treme southern tip of Chile also can be thought
of as a refuge for ancient evolutionary lineages.
Furthermore, at the landscape level, the Magellanic
Sub-Antarctic Archipelago has remarkably diverse
habitat types, including: 1) broad-leafed evergreen
forests, dominated by Nothofagus betuloides and
Drimys winteri; 2) deciduous forests dominated by
Nothofagus pumilio and (or) N. antarctica; 3) high
Andean habitats dominated by cushion floras and
prairies of lichens; 4) complex and diverse tundra
formations; 5) formations of glaciers; 6) a series of
freshwater ecosystems (Pisano 1977). The southwes-
tern peninsula of Tierra del Fuego Island, containing
a vast area of the Alberto De Agostini National Park,
includes mainly evergreen forests and bogs (sensu
Gajardo 1994). This habitat combination is charac-
teristic of the Magellanic Sub-Antarctic Evergreen
Rainforest ecoregion (Rozzi et al. 2004).
This ecoregion has been identified recently
as one of the thirty-seven most pristine wilderness
areas remaining on the planet (Mittermeier et al.
2001). Such recognition emphasizes both biogeo-
graphic importance and relevance for conservation
at regional, national, and international levels. The
area is known as a global conservation priority;
however, the remote and extensive Alberto De
Agostini National Park has had limited oversight
and administrative support. The park's area co-
vers approximately 1,460,000 hectares, which
is 16.4% of state protected land in Chile, but the
park's isolation and vastness are also the reasons
that it is largely unstudied, even though it is under
increasing pressure from tourism and development
(Jax & Rozzi 2004). In this context, the watersheds
in this area are extremely valuable study units
from scientific and economic perspectives (Rozzi
et al. 2004).
The terrestrial ecosystems of the D'Agostini
National Park are insular, embedded in an intricate
system of fiords, channels, estuaries, and bays (Fig.
1). Using an ecosystem perspective we characterized
the ecology of twenty-one watersheds to integrate
abiotic, biotic, and landscape variables. We quanti-
fied landcover and predominant vegetation habitat
r u erto Viliams
Fig. 1. The study area is a portion of the Alberto D'Agostini National Park, located in the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic Region.
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Moorman, Michelle C.; Anderson, Christopher B.; Gutiérrez, Alvaro G.; Charlin, Rina & Rozzi, Ricardo, 1960-. Watershed Conservation and Aquatic Benthic Macroinvertebrate Diversity in the Alberto D'Agostini National Park, Tierra del Fuego, Chile, article, 2006; [Magallanes, Chile]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc102287/m1/3/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.