Cultiva Chile started in 2000 as a non-profit organisation dedicated to solving the pollution problem in the capital city of Santiago de Chile. Their original focus was to reforest the surrounding hills and pre-mountainous range to reduce the erosion and amount of dust released into the air. Later on, their work in urban spaces extended into the recovery of the native forests in central Chile, affected by deforestation, monoculture of tree plantations and climate change effects that increase the intensity and consequences of wildfires. Over time, Cultiva has also conducted planting actions in other regions you mentioned like O’Higgins, Maule, Bio Bio and Valparaíso.
Around 2010, Cultiva Chile’s work extended to the compensation of emissions and forest management projects. A social enterprise called Corporación Cultiva, also registered in Chile, was created to manage the activities and providing technical services. The two main areas of focus are environmental education through the reforestation of native forest (sclerophyllous plants) and the rehabilitation and improvement of spaces for outdoor learning and contact with nature. Current activities range from reforestation in non-urban areas to greening of public spaces and buildings (squares, schools, parks), and implementing or proofing emissions compensation projects for public and private entities.
In 2017, severe wildfires destroyed around 95’000 ha of native forests. In response, Cultiva launched the #ReforestemosChileNativo campaign with the goal of planting one million trees in the 5 most affected areas. This effort would combine planting with environmental education and initiatives to restart the local economy, continuing the “participative reforestation” approach used by Cultiva.
In this approach, individual planting projects are developed together with community groups as an education and hands-on effort, shaped by anthroposophical principles that link thinking, feeling and acting. The aim is to empower and enable people during the process, increasing their engagement, emotional connection and capacity to act positively for their environment. As a result, they have created a successful citizen movement with over 26’000 volunteers involved in 657 such projects between 2000 and 2018 and close to half a million native trees and bush species planted.