Friday, February 19, 2016

Operations in Chile

Working in the timber industry in Chile, has been fascinating. Forestal Mininco, a component of CMPC, is the second largest timber company in Chile.   Their influence on communities and local economies is significant to southern regions. 

I can say that my Oregon State University education has prepared me very well to discuss similar harvesting systems, plantation regimes, and landscape management.  They are not so far off from what I have experienced in my work in Oregon and British Columbia.  Steep slope harvesting, road placement, negative public perception, and indigenous conflicts are consistent topics throughout my experiences on both continents.

What I find most noticeable is that Chile’s developed industry is relatively new.  It was just in the last forty years that the forestry sector looked similar to how it operates today. Furthermore, the conflicts between indigenous peoples and landownership continue to significantly influence harvesting operations through acts of property destruction. 

The forestry sector is a dynamic resource that the world relies on for an incredible amount of products. Chile is a country that provides a significant portion of pulp products and sawlogs worldwide.  I have gotten an inside look at the harvesting operations process in the private industry.

While the coolest pictures are of the operations in action, most of my days are spent meeting with all those involved in running the show. I am familiar with the optimization and heuristic programs professionals utilize daily to most efficiently produce wood products.  I learn the complex transport system that runs over 1,200 loads daily and 600 nightly.  I recognize the planning that goes into assigning hundreds of contract companies to harvest schedules.  Then I understand the negotiations that go into product sales to the mills based on the capacities of the composition of the plantations. 

I have to say it has been a fun ride to understand a small piece of the organization CMPC and Forestal Mininco.

Santiago Exploring

I had the pleasure to explore Santiago, the capital of Chile and its largest city this last weekend.  My friend Bailey acted as an excellent tour guide even being new to the city.  The funny thing about traveling is that some of converstations you have with strangers can be more meaningful or deeper than those acquainences you´ve had for years. It is always a pleasant reminder that good people are found throughout the world. 

Bailey and I met at a the 2015 National SAF Conference in Baton Rouge.  We are both in the forestry fields from opposite sides of the United States who both happened to be in Chile this year.  And so of course walking around the city we both have to wonder and compare notes on the trees we see in the many green spaces in the city.

We spent two days wandering the streets and barrios of Santiago. It a vibrant city with great food, interesting people, and colorful sites! 

Lunch at La Vega market, known for its fresh seafood
We met a nice couple at the neighboring table.

La Vega market

El cerro de Santa LucĂ­a
El barrio de Barzil, well known for their street art
Barrio de Brasil, Sebastian y Bailey

Why not eat Peruvian food in Chile...
Danced salsa all night long at Salsateca, Klub Managosta!