Chile’s primary government environmental organization, in charge of national parks and other protected areas, is the Corporación Nacional Forestal (Conaf, Av. Bulnes 291, Santiago, tel. 02/3900282, 02/3900125, www.conaf.cl), which provides information and also sells maps, books, and pamphlets at its Santiago offices. It also has offices in every regional capital and some other cities, and visitor centers and/or ranger stations at nearly all its units.
In the decade-plus since the return to democracy, nonprofit environmental advocacy organizations have proliferated—so much so that their abundance may have diluted their influence. Many focus on forest preservation, arguably the country’s most hot-button issue.
Renace (Seminario 774, tel. 02/2234483Ñuñoa Santiago, www.renace.cl) is a loose alliance of environmental organizations. The highly professional Fundación Terram (General Bustamante 24, 5-I, Providencia, Santiago, tel. 02/2694499, www.terram.cl) emphasizes sustainable development.
The best-known forest preservation organization is Defensores del Bosque Chileno (Defenders of the Chilean Forest, Alvaro Casanova 613, Peñalolén, Santiago, tel. 02/2780237, www.elbosquechileno.cl). Headed by founder Adriana Hoffman, a botanist who served nearly two years as the Lagos government’s key environmental official, its focus is native forest preservation and restoration.
Chile’s oldest environmental organization is the Comité de la Defensa de Flora y Fauna (Committee for the Defense of Flora and Fauna, or Codeff, Luis Uribe 2620Ñuñoa Santiago, tel. 02/2747461, www.codeff.cl). Since 1968, it has focused on practical projects to preserve and restore native plants and animals, often in cooperation with government agencies such as Conaf.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition