Ecotourism in Oncol Park: Arauco’s Treasure in Chile

Arauco Forestal S.A.
Woman looks out across foggy canopy of forest in Chile
Arauco Forestal S.A.
March 3, 2020
Category : Stories

The FSC Ecosystem Service Procedure has helped Arauco to verify its positive impacts on ecotourism services. The global forestry company has managed to protect a severely threatened forest while ensuring it benefits the local, scientific, and educational communities.

In southern Chile, Arauco’s Oncol Park safeguards one of the last bits of the Valdivian Coastal Rainforest, which has the greatest biological diversity amongst all temperate forests in South America. With 2.481 hectares, it is home to 90 species of animals and 89 plant species (many of them endemic), and is surrounded by archaeological hotspots. Add to that a panoramic view of beaches, valleys, snow-capped Andes mountains and famous Chilean volcanoes – and you’ll get a world-class touristic haven. 

Forest managers at Oncol have used the innovative FSC Ecosystem Services Procedure to demonstrate and communicate about the positive impact of responsible forest management on specific ecosystem services. FSC certificate holders can use this 7-step global approach to show how their responsible forest management activities help preserve (or restore) ecosystem services in forest sites. A certification body independently evaluates the positive impacts, which, once verified, result in a so-called “ecosystem service claim”. That claim can then be used for promotional and communications purposes.

little orange and brown bird with a worn in his mouth
Arauco Forestal S.A.

These protected ecosystem services have also become quite crucial for the local community around the park, as it depends on activities related to eco-tourism such as food and handicraft sales, camping rental, guide services, transportation, etc. The forest also provides wood and non-timber forest products [1] for local and native populations, such as the Punucapa Artesan Collective group. National and international universities are other direct beneficiaries of these ecosystem services, as they have partnerships with Arauco for scientific studies in Oncol Park [2]​​​​​. Schools and youth programs also use the park for educational purposes. 

There are still important challenges to overcome and ways to move forward, but one thing is clear: verified positive impacts on ecosystem services (ES) truly amplify the recognition of Arauco’s environmental impacts on Parque Oncol. 

Get Involved

The ES procedure, which came into effect in 2018, gives forest owners like these the adequate tools to communicate positive impacts of their operations. 
FSC has other certified sites all over the world and recently celebrated its 23rd successfully verified ecosystem service claim. 

If you are a forest manager or potential sponsor interested in this topic, please visit and find out how to get involved! 

green river in tropical rainforest in Chile
Arauco Forestal S.A.


[1] CODEFF (Comité nacional pro-defensa de la flor ay fauna). 2003. Diversidad Biológica del Área Costera protegida Punta Curiñanco. Valdivia, Chile. 62 p.
[2] A list of different studies can be found here.