In the glacial epoch, some 15,000 or more years ago, the flora began to shift northwards and towards the highest hills where it was better protected. At that time, ice did not cover the northern side of the island and thus a kind of small refuge for biodiversity was created.
The vegetal formation on the islands was that of the Valdivian forest, a green forest with a wide diversity of vegetal species which today are represented in, for example, the myrtle, oak, evergreens, native bamboo and the Chilean hazelnut, among others. At the altitude of the coastal mountain range, there are varieties of larch.
Native fauna includes a wide variety of species of birds, fish, shellfish and mammals such as the Chiloé fox, the small deer pudú, Colocolo cats, black-necked swans, flamingos, different types of ducks, dolphins, sporadic visits by whales and, finally, the Chiloé horse or mampato.
The Pullao wetland
Tierra Chiloé sits next to the Pullao wetland which, together with nine other wetlands in Chiloé, gained worldwide recognition as a “site of hemispheric importance” by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, because it houses numerous species under conservation.
This wetland is the winter home of two migratory species of worldwide scientific importance: the Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemástica) (Chiloé hosts 40% of the world’s population) and the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Both species reproduce in North America.
Additionally, it is possible to observe, in season, the visit of the Chilean flamingo.