Forested habitat preferences by Chilean citizens: Implications for biodiversity conservation in Pinus radiata plantations
The need for conservation outside protected areas has prompted the modification of productive practices to allow the maintenance of wild biota in productive landscapes such as those associated to timber production. Forest plantations could cooperate in conserving biodiversity outside protected areas if they have a developed understory. However, the success of the production changes depends on the social support they receive. Therefore, we evaluate Chilean citizens' preference for five habitats of different types of forest management. In addition, we assessed perceptions regarding the relationship between pine plantations and native wildlife through surveys administered in Chillán, Santiago and six rural localities in the VII and VIII region. Despite there is not a unanimous opinion regarding pine plantations as a threat to biodiversity, people prefer pine plantations that serve as habitat for endangered fauna. In fact, they agree on paying more for forest products to contribute to conservation in forest plantations, and actually prefer plantations with a developed understory better than those without it. This would suggest that measures aimed at conservation in forest plantations could be supported by the Chilean society.