“Chile País Forestal” (Chile Forestry Country) will provide the framework for the celebration of the World Conference on Timber Engineering, for the first time during its existence in South America. Chile has about 15 million hectares of forest (80% native and 20% plantations) and also a vibrant forestry industry, with important support from current national governmental initiatives which encourage the industry to be more competitive based on the huge potential for the development of timber engineering.
Chile is not only one of the biggest forestry producers in the world, it is also a natural laboratory for the exploration of diverse technologies in timber engineering. As a country prone to earthquakes, it presents one of the highest rates of seismic activity in the world, registering the biggest earthquake in documented history (Valdivia, 1960). Additionally, due to its great geographical variety, which includes the driest desert in the world, located in the north, and the southern Patagonian ice fields, Chile is an excellent country in which to study the behaviors of timber as a construction material when exposed to different weather and temperature conditions.
Santiago, the capital of Chile, was chosen by the New York Times (2013) as one of the best destinations to visit in the world. The city is a dynamic and modern metropolis, located in the heart of the fertile Central Valley, surrounded by the Andes mountain range and very close to the sea. Besides this, Santiago has an attractive artistic-cultural scene, a variety of restaurants and an exciting night life.