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Development of a socio-environmental investment model for the restoration of semi-arid land

Coquimbo, Chile

Context and objectives

The Coquimbo Region is mostly classified as an arid zone. However, it is common for torrential rainfall events to occur, which cause soil and water losses, due to the high degree of compaction presented by the soils of these territories, which does not allow for water infiltration. In this context, the Regional Development Strategy and the Rural Development Policy in the Coquimbo Region, provide for ecosystem restoration measures in response to a frequent demand from local communities to the government. 


At the national level, Chile is committed to avoid the degradation of 100,000 ha of native forests and xerophytic vegetation. On the project site, CONAF will establish a pilot for the restoration of arid zones to avoid degradation, with a view to demonstrate the benefits of restoration to local communities and decision-makers. The restoration measures developed will aim to combat desertification, conserve biodiversity, and further the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.  To achieve this objective, rainwater dams and other soil conservation works will be built to facilitate the infiltration of water into the soil and prevent the erosion process generated by rainfall.

Progress and next steps

In September 2016, CONAF met on two occasions with the communities to of Cerro Blanco and Peñablanca to discuss the scope of the project. In January 2017, work has been carried out to establish the baseline of the sectors under intervention, in terms of their physical characteristics, composition and floristic richness. Information was also collected on actions and investments for restoration carried out previously, so as to incorporate them into the analysis and construction of the project planning. Native seeds are also being collected for the production of seedlings in the CONAF nursery.


Once the construction of the project baseline has been completed, the results will be presented to the communities in order to gather feedback on the detailed design of intervention. A management plan will be developed for the regeneration and sustainable use of Trevoa trinervis, a local species locally driven to extinction due to its unsustainable exploitation for fuel.

Implementing partners


This project is carried out by the National Commission for Forests (CONAF) of Chile


Field Visit



October 2017

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