Botanist raises study the forest from the air in Chile

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Francis Hallé became world famous as a biologist and botanist when in 1986 organized the first Radeau des cimes (Navigating the peaks), a science initiative to study tropical forests from the air, then, in his opinionthat is the proper way to investigate these places.

For this he used an aerostatic balloon, which transformed into a great air laboratory .

The initiative succeeded so well that the French scientific repeated his expeditions consecutively until 2003, visiting 50 countries, including Congo, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Laos, Guyana and Brazil, a perspective that allowed him to discover the importance of the canopic regions ( top of the trees) of the forests, as primary source of biodiversity.

“75% of the biodiversity of the rainforest is the top of the trees, where plants and animals use most of solar energy to develop many life forms and interactions,” says Hallé to La Tercera, who just visited the country, proposing several ways to preserve native forests in Chile.

Invited by the French Embassy in Chile , the FAO and the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF in spanish), Hallé internalized the current conservation status of Chilean forests, such as the National Park La Campana (Valparaíso Region) and the Araucaria Forest (Bio Bio Region).

During his visit to Pehuén sector, near the volcano Lonquimay, he had his second encounter with a natural forest of Araucaria, the first had been for some years in New Guinea, Oceania, where he met the tepa, a rare endemic plant of the forests of the Maule to Aysen. “It caught my attention because when it has no light is developed as grass, and when it finds light, grows like a tree.”

Hallé was highly critical of the current state of preservation of the National Park La Campana, where he recommended to take out the cattle grazing in the reserve today. “It’s a national park, state-owned, so there is no reason for allowing livestock on neighboring farms destroy the grass there,” said the researcher.

This was his second experience in Chile. In 2004 led a French expedition that made an inventory of the biodiversity of the archipelago of Juan Fernandez. The botanist was optimistic about the future of the local forest, given that they are using eucalyptus and pine trees to help stop the fragmentation of forests.

FROM | diario.latercera.com

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