Chile Agriculture and Forestry
Breeding. – Livestock breeding, which was the main industry of the country until the middle of the last century, still retains its importance today. According to the latest censuses, the Chilean livestock herd would be made up of about 2,000,000 cattle, four and a half million sheep, 500,000 horses (including llamas) and 300,000 pigs.
According to Smber, cattle spend their life outdoors. There are wintering areas and summer grazing areas. Up to 36 ° latitude, the migration of animals that spend the summer in the mountains takes place. In the central region, the cattle spend the summer in the high valleys of the two sides. The cattle for slaughter is preferably imported from Argentina. The sheep live especially in the southern regions, but their breeding is poorly cared for, serving mostly for food purposes, while the production of wool is relatively small. Very useful for the trade between Chile and Argentina are the llamas that cross the Andes in long caravans carrying heavy loads on their backs. A region, where sheep farming has taken off a lot, is the territory of Magellano: here the farming began in 1853 with the importation of four sheep and a ram from Valdivia. In 1868 there were 240 sheep, 327 cattle and 168 horses. Ten years later, sheep from the Falkland Islands began to arrive at various points along the Strait coast, and by 1896 there were already around 1,800,000 wool cattle in the region. In 1920 there were three million sheep, 45,000 cattle and 25,000 horses. The excess of sheep resulting from annual procreation, apart from what is destined for the consumption of the population and the supply of vapors in transit through the Strait, is absorbed by half a dozen refrigerators established in the territory, which use about one million animals, exporting them mainly to England in the form of frozen and canned meat, not to mention the export of wool. The “Sociedad Rural de Magallanes” supervises everything related to the breeding of livestock, of which it organizes exhibitions in which many estancieros of the region.
Hunting and fishing. – The hunt is free. Professional hunters limit themselves to hunting vicuñas (vicuñas), which live in the Andes near Bolivia. The skins of these animals are used as furs. A profitable hunt is still that of the chinchilla that inhabits the expanses of the salt marshes. Vizcachas, polecats, otters, foxes, and among birds condors are still widely hunted.
The special conditions of the waters near the coast, especially in northern Chile, make fishing a very important resource. Particularly widespread is fishing for anchovies and carnivorous species (mackerel, etc.) that chase the herds of anchovies. Very important is also the hunting of whales, seals, sea lions, and otters much sought after for their furs.
Forests. – From the forestry point of view, Chile can be divided into 6 large areas, which have their own characteristics; the first, including the provinces of Tacna (now the department of Arica), Tarapacá and Aritofagasta, is very poor in forests given the climatic conditions of the region. On almost 170,000 sq. Km. only about a hundred are covered with forests. In the second forest region (provinces of Atacama and Coquimbo) the percentage of the forest area rises from ½ per thousand to 25 per thousand. The third forest region includes the central provinces: on an area of over 67,000 sq km, 7,000 are forested (105 ‰); 70 sq. Km. then they are covered with woods of artificial creation. The fourth forest region, bounded to the north by the Maule River, to the south by the Valdivia River, it is currently the most exploited area due to the richness of the timber and the ease of communication: over 100,000 sq km. about 22,000 of territories are covered by forests (220 ‰), while 150 sq. km. they are covered with artificial woods. The fifth forest region, between the Valdivia river and the Taitao peninsula, covering 115,000 sq km. of surface has 54.000 sq. km. of forests equal to 400 ‰. In the sixth and last zone, which includes the territories of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, covering over 171,000 sq km. 81,000 are occupied by forests, equal to 470 ‰: it is an almost impenetrable mantle of virgin forests, which contain extraordinary riches. on 115,000 sq. km. of surface has 54.000 sq. km. of forests equal to 400 ‰. In the sixth and last zone, which includes the territories of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, covering over 171,000 sq km. 81,000 are occupied by forests, equal to 470 ‰: it is an almost impenetrable mantle of virgin forests, which contain extraordinary riches. on 115,000 sq. km. of surface has 54.000 sq. km. of forests equal to 400 ‰. In the sixth and last zone, which includes the territories of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego, covering over 171,000 sq km. 81,000 are occupied by forests, equal to 470 ‰: it is an almost impenetrable mantle of virgin forests, which contain extraordinary riches.
There is therefore also in the forestry field, a precise interdependence between the economic landscape and the climatic environment, as the previous figures relating to the individual areas show well.
About ⅔ of the forests belong to the state: the forest reserves created by the government for tourism purposes have a total area of almost 750,000 hectares, mostly in the lakes region, called Switzerland Chilena. The largest reserves are those of Villarrica (Cautín) with 165,000 hectares; of Petrohué with 157,000 hectares; of Chiloé with 100,000, etc. Two National Tourism Parks have also been created, located in the provinces of Cautín, Valdivia and Chiloé, with a respective extension of 71,700 and 135,275 hectares. In the same, as for those existing in Italy in the Gran Paradiso area and in Abruzzo, in addition to the natural beauties, the fauna and flora of the region will be preserved.
The Chilean law grants strong rewards for the reforestation of barren land: from 200 to 400 pesos per hectare north of the Coquimbo river where forests are rare, and from 100 to 200 pesos south of that river. In addition to this cash prize, the government grants the seeds and seedlings of the nurseries free of charge at a preferential price.