Founded: August 9, 2018
Area: 260,695 acres
Donated area: 14,196 acres (in process)
Ecosystem: Evergreen forest and deciduous alpine scrubland
Estimated carbon sequestration: 74.74 million metric tons
Location: Aysén Region
Dominated by the imposing Melimoyu Volcano, Melimoyu National Park sits in the middle of a labyrinthine landscape of channels, fjords, and islands. Dozens of rivers flow from the snowdrifts to the coasts, depositing organic material from the forests and peatlands into the water and fostering a rich, biodiverse ecosystem full of active wildlife. Blue whales can be found along the park’s coasts, and it is estimated that 10% of these cetaceans’ global population comes to the Corcovado Gulf to feed on krill during the southern hemisphere summer.
In the 1980s, Chile’s ruling military dictatorship annulled this area’s status as the Puyuhuapi National Reserve and began a program promoting its settlement. After a decade, only a few of the fifty families that eventually settled in this area remained. Between 1999 and 2005, through the Pumalín Foundation and the Conservation Land Trust, we acquired three adjacent properties on the Refugio Channel, a spectacular inland fjord. Some of the land had been degraded by logging and cattle grazing, yet the area overall had great conservation potential. In 2018, an agreement was signed by Tompkins Conservation and the Chilean state, declaring this land a national park, alongside four other new national parks.
Melimoyu marks the border between the temperate rainforest and the far north of the Patagonian subantarctic forest. Its lush woods are made up of species found in the Valdivian rainforest and those from the temperate resinous forest, like ciprés de las guaitecas (Pilgerodendron) and tepú. Coigües, cypresses, and canelos are a few of its emblematic tree species. The ecosystem is home to a variety of animal species, including Darwin’s frog, pumas, foxes, pudú deer, and an immense variety of birds. Along the coasts, you can find Chilean and southern dolphins, penguins, seals, and sea lions, as well as humpback and blue whales, among others.