Ecosystem - Huilo Huilo


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Valdivian forest

It has centennial trees that reach heights of up to 45 meters forming the so-called cathedral forest, such as Coigüe (Nothofagus dombeyi), Raulí (Nothofagus alpina), Tepa (Laureliopsis philippiana), Ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia), Tineo (Weinmannia trichosperma), Lingue (Persea lingue), Avellano (Gevuina avellana), Mañío (Saxegothaea conspicua), Tayú (Dasyphyllum diacanthoides), and other smaller ones such as Meli (Amomyrtus meli), Luma (Amomyrtus luma), Fuinque (Lomatia ferruginea), Piñol (Lomatia dentata), Notro (Embothrium coccineum), Arrayán (Luma apiculata), Tiaca (Caldcluvia paniculata), Chinchin (Azara microphylla) and others.

Rich plant communities are distributed in different strata under the tops of major trees, adapted to the lack of sunlight such as Repu (Rhaphithamnus spinosus), Chilco (Fucsia magellanica), Chaura (Gaultheria sp., Pernettya sp.), Taique (Desfontainea spinosa), Michay (Berberis sp.), Zarzaparrilla (Ribes sp.) and others.
The understory, with orchids, alstroemerias, fungi, lichens and mosses, allow the development of species such as the flying deer, golden butterfly and Darwin’s toad.

There are also abundant lianas and climbers such as Copihue and a great variety of ferns that form an important part of the forest floor and also grow on the trunks of old trees and those that have fallen. High mountain/native forest.

High Mountain / Native Forest

The Mocho Choshuenco Volcano, 2,415 meters high, imposes its original silhouette on this ecosystem, which shelters the eternal snow of a millennial glacier. It is a route in which the vegetal variation is appreciated, starting the ascent between Coigües of great height and arriving at a sector dominated by Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio), which loses its leaves during the cold season. In this area snow falls during the winter.

It is associated with Ñirre (Antarctic Nothofagus) and Notro (Embothrium coccineum). Arriving at a spectacular viewpoint where you can appreciate a panoramic view of the volcanic environment, Lake Pirehueico, Lake Neltume and volcanoes such as Lanín, Quetrupillán and Villarrica, the vegetation that inhabits this ecosystem has had to develop various structural and physiological adaptations that allow them to survive on volcanic soil, low temperatures and snow that covers much of their foliage.

For it has developed thick leaves that protect them of the desiccation and allows them to support the weight of the snow.The understory has Quila chica (Chusquea tenuifolia), Canelillo (Drimys andina), Leña dura (Maytenus distichia), Michay (Berberis serratodentata), Calafate (Berberis buxifolia),Chaura (Gaultheria sp, Pernettya sp), Luma blanca (Myrceugenia chrysocarpa), Ñipa (Escallonia andina), Traro-voqui (Ovidia andina) and Taique (Desfontainea spinosa).

Pampa Pilmaiquén

The Pampa de Pilmaiquén is an extensive plain of about 1,200 hectares that is altitudinally inferior to the environment, in a hollow in the slopes of the volcano Mocho Choshuenco.

In this valley masses of cold air accumulate that descend from the adjacent mountains that surround it, which conditions a low dense scrub vegetation of 1 to 4 meters of height in which the Ñirre (Nothofagus antarctica) predominates, caducifolia species that can reach up to 15 m of height in favorable conditions, and that here does not surpass the 5 meters of height, coironal, in a terrain of volcanic sand, to 600 meters of altitude.

This typical formation of high mountain range or of very southern zones, contributes to the landscape contrasts that are clearly visible in autumn, when the yellow of the leaves on the verge of falling dyes completely this immense valley. Another aspect that contributes singularity is the congruence between this pampa and the population of guanacos that inhabit it and wander as it can be appreciated in Magallanes, its most recognized habitat.

Water systems

Temperate zones, due to the presence of water and overburdened with humidity throughout the year, the abundance of epiphytes is remarkable, especially ferns of the genus Hymenophyllum, climbers and bromeliads: Fascicularia bicolor, Greigia sphacelata. Only in this type of forest are Lingue (Persea lingue) and Olivillo (Aextoxicon punctatum).

The river Fuy is born in the lake Pirehueico, natural river of transparent waters that slides by a volcanic furrow and in the waterfall of Huilo Huilo crashes from about thirty meters towards a backwater of the river Fuy. Its maximum capacity is 30 cubic meters per second.

It has an approximate length of 17.6 km. from its beginning to its confluence with the river Neltume. The Fuy River descends with a steep slope from 605 to 190 meters above sea level. On its way it passes by the Huilo Huilo, La Leona and El Puma waterfalls. Then, it converges with the Neltume River, and together they form the Llanquihue River.

Lake Pirehueico” Place of snow water” (Pire-nieve, Hue – place, co-water). Lake of glacial origin of calm and crystalline waters, located in the Andes Mountain Range in the Hua-Hum border crossing. It has an area of 30.45 km2 and its maximum depth is 145 meters, occupies the sixth place in size among the lakes of this region. Its blue-green color reflects its immense purity. Most of its coasts are formed by rocks and virgin forests of overwhelming beauty. Its waters are inhabited by Hualas, Black-necked Swans, Ducks and Huillines.

The Huilo Huilo Foundation has analyzed water samples from this lake in which it has identified some species of diatoms, which are microscopic unicellular algae that belong to the protista kingdom.these are photosynthesizing organisms that live in fresh or marine water constituting a very important part of the phytoplankton. One of the characteristic features of diatom cells is the presence of a silica cover (hydrated silicon dioxide), which allows various forms. Fossil evidence suggests that they originated during or before the early Jurassic period, approximately 200 million years ago.

The waterfalls coming from the Fuy River tend to go through a reduction in water levels at the end of the summer, so in autumn it may be devoid of water. If in certain years does not fall much snow in the mountains, the rivers and lakes in the area experience a drop in level. This decrease of the flow and in parts absence of it, has allowed this river to be cleaner than others of the South of Chile.

Therefore, a very attractive panorama is to cross the waterfall and to be able to appreciate the rocky formations that exist when the river is dry.

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