Chile is an important actor in the forest industry on a global scale having 13.359.519 hectares of native forest, 2.447.591 hectares of plantations and a volume of production of sawn timber that reached 7.998.781 m3 in 2014 (mainly produced from radiata pine).
Chile has reached a competitive presence in markets in five continents which ranks the country in number 12 in world production.
Chile has had a wide variety of construction tradition made of wood all across its territory: Humberstone, Valparaíso, Sewell, Araucanía Region and Chiloé among others are witnesses of development linked to wood.
Many of the constructions found in those areas were made by European colonists coming from Germany, France, England, Switzerland and Spain. All these works, survivors of the time, inspire new generations to develop new constructions using wood.
Undoubtedly, Chile is a seismic country. As matter of fact, it presents one of the highest rates of seismic activity. Also, it is the place where the biggest earthquakes have occurred. The main three reasons for such a phenomenon have to do with the location where Chile is settled: Chile is located very close to the intersection between the Nazca Plate and the South American plate.
A section of Chile’s surface extends over an area influenced by the acitivity of the Antartic Plate and the South American Plate right in the area of Peninsula of Taitao.
The country is located in the so called Pacific fire betl (or Pacific Ring of Fire) a line in which frequently earthquakes and volcanic eruptions hit. This phenomenon occurs practically all over the Pacific Rim countries.
In contrast, the use of wood in the Chilean construction industry is still very limited having only 16% of our houses made of wood. The use of wood in buildings of three or more story has not been explored yet.
This low demand of buildings made of wood can be explained by considering the negative perception of users as wooden construction development is not as advanced as the development of other materials. Last years, this necessity has become a source of opportunities that have been confirmed by new technological developments in which wood has been accepted by local people.