Land and Resources, Vegetation and Animal Life
Andean wolf, thorny shrub, guanaco, climatic zone, small deer
The indigenous plant life of Chile varies according to climatic zone. The northern region has few varieties of vegetation (such as brambles and cacti) and is one of Earth’s best examples of an absolute desert. The more humid Central Valley supports several species of cacti, espino (a thorny shrub), grasses, and the Chilean pine, which bears edible nuts. South of Valdivia are found dense rain forests containing laurel, magnolia, false beech, and various species of conifers. In the extreme south, a steppe vegetation of grasses is found.
Animal life is less diversified than in other parts of South America because of the barrier to migration presented by the Andes. Indigenous mammals include llama, alpaca, vicuna, guanaco, puma, Andean wolf, huemal (a large deer), pudu (a small deer), and the chinchilla. Birdlife is varied, but most of the larger South American types are absent. Aside from trout, which were introduced from North America, few freshwater fish inhabit Chilean streams and lakes. The coastal waters abound in fish and marine animals.
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