Improvement of Las Chilcas Mountain Road II
Description of social and environmental performance.
As a result of the widening of the roads on the Aconcagua Motorway, native Chilean flora was affected when vegetation on the Chilcas Hill stretch was scraped and cut. The significance of this problem was that this area comprised a native or conservation forest, inhabited by endangered plant species or species in some kind of conservation category, corresponding to unique environments or representative of the biodiversity of the country
One of the objectives of the Environmental Management Plan was to offset environmental impacts on affected native flora. This therefore meant that the project had to include the development and implementation of a Forest Management Plan.
Before the start of work, six native species that were expected to be later affected were be collected: Soapbark (Quillaja saponaria), Hawthorn (Acacia caven), Guayacan (Porlieria chilensis), Carob tree (Prosopis chilensis), Litre (Lithrea caustica) and Huingán (Schinus polygamus). The collection of seeds and fruits was carried out within the official perimeter and the project´s surrounding areas with more vigorous species. Subsequently, these seeds were delivered to Antumapu Nursery at the University of Chile, where during two years they germinated and grew to 30 cm. In the final stages of the project a perimeter fence was established surrounding the reforestation site, which had a surface area of almost 18 hectares, to prevent grazing animals entering.
Currently the planting, watering and plant maintenance phases are still pending, and must be carried out after the distribution of existing vegetation, to ensure that there is enough water for irrigation, so that at least 85% of the planted specimens develop.
Four seed collection campaigns have been carried out during the works execution. Due to consecutive droughts, there have been no Quillay fruits, so we could only collect seeds from the other 5 species. Moreover, as the number of specimens developed was not sufficient, we decided to buy specimens of each species, taking into account proximity to the project, to maintain genetic diversity.
A total of 6,616 plants are ready for reforestation, planned for late 2015, taking into account those germinated in the nursery and those purchased.