Ecosystem Services (hereafter ES) such as water provision, climate regulation through carbon sequestration and uptake, as well as tourism opportunities, are crucial for economic development and social well-being (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) The total value of these services has been estimated in US $ 33 trillion/year (Costanza et al, 1997). The supply of ES depends on the structure , processes and conservation status of the ecosystems and is reduced with their degradation, or land-use changes. Decrease in stream flow in watersheds covered with forest plantations compared to other land uses is a dominant pattern worldwide (Farley et al., 2005). In Chile, rapid and extensive conversion from native forests to exotic Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus spp commercial plantations, as well as their conversion to agriculture have been the main land use changes in Central and Southern Chile (Echeverría et al., 2006, Lara and Urrutia, 2010). The loss of ES in different regions of the world can be explained since these services have not been adequately quantified and that, in most cases, they lack a market price and have not been considered in policy and decision making (Costanza et al., 1997; Nahuelhual et al., 2007, Lucke 2008).
Professor Antonio Lara is a researcher and full professor of the Faculty of Forest Sciences and Natural Resources at Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia. He has dedicated his academic life including research, teaching, and outreach to the Ecology of Native Forests, dendrochronology, climate change and for the last decade has been a pioneer and leader in the study of ecosystem services in Chile. His commitment to this research theme has been as the PI of the FORECOS Scientific Nucleus and as the President of FORECOS Foundation he has led and collaborated with relevant outreach activities regarding ecosystem services. Lara has published numerous papers including one in Science as the main author in 1993 and another in Nature as a co-author in 2002. He has also published numerous book chapters (14 since 2006 as main author and co-author) and has been the main author of two books in 1999 and 2003. Lara has been highly influential in the training and development of human capacities in his research topics. He has dedicated important efforts to teaching undergraduate, graduate courses, and has been the advisor of 19 Doctoral and Masters students and supervised seven postdoctoral fellows since 2006. He has participated in several public and private consultive councils and forums, determining that his research and proposals have been considered in the law on native forests approved in 2008 and in other regulations and guidelines for forest management and conservation. In 2008 Lara was invited by the Ministry of Agriculture to become a member of the Consultative Council of Native Forests, position that he served until 2011. He is internationally recognized for his contribution and leadership in the research of native forests and coordinates or participates in different collaboration networks. This recognition also led him to obtain the Bullard Scholarship from the Harvard Forest (Harvard University) to spend a sabbatical year between 2003 and 2004. He also dedicates efforts to outreach activities directed to various audiences including decision-makers, land-owners, conservationist organizations, and citizens at large through the media.
- Dr. Mauro González, Universidad Austral de Chile (Alterno)
- Dr. Susana Gómez González, Universidad del BioBio (Asociada)
- Dr. Chiristian Little, Universidad Austral (PostDoctorante)
- Mauricio Gallegillos, Universidad de Chile (Asistente de Investigación)