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|Chilean Matorral (NT1201)|
Matorral scene in Cerro La Campana with Chilean palm trees
Location in Chile
|Biome||Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub|
|Area||148,500 km2 (57,300 sq mi)|
|Climate type||BSk: arid, steppe, cold arid|
The Chilean Matorral (NT1201) is a terrestrial ecoregion of central Chile, located on the west coast of South America. It is in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, part of the Neotropic ecozone.
Matorral is typically characterized by a temperate Mediterranean climate, with rainy winters and dry summers. It is one of the world's five Mediterranean climate regions, which are all located in the middle latitudes on the west coast of continents. The Mediterranean Basin, the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion of California and Baja California, the Cape Province of South Africa, and southwestern corner of Australia are the other Mediterranean climate regions.
The Matorral occupies central Chile between 32° and 37° south latitude. The Pacific Ocean lies to the west, and the Chilean Coastal Range lies parallel to the coast. The Chilean Central Valley lies between the Coastal range and the Andes Mountains, which bound the Matorral ecoregion on the east. To the north is the extremely dry Atacama desert, which separates the Matorral from the tropical forests of northern South America. A semi-desert region known as El Norte Chico, (the "little north") lies between 28° and 32° south latitude, and is the transition zone between the Atacama desert and the Matorral. To the south lies the cooler and wetter Valdivian temperate rain forests ecoregion, which includes most of South America's temperate rain forests.
The Chilean Matorral ecoregion is home to several plant communities.
The ecoregion has many endemic plant species, with affinities to the South American tropics, the Antarctic flora, and the Andes. About 95% of the plant species are endemic to Chile, including Gomortega keule, Pitavia punctata, Nothofagus alessandrii, and the Chilean Wine Palm, Jubaea chilensis.
The Matorral contains the majority of Chile's population and largest cities. The Central valley is Chile's main agricultural region, and the region is also subject to extensive grazing, logging, and urbanization. Of Chile's ecoregions, the Matorral is the least protected by national parks and preserves.