The timber of the Chilean cedar is of local economic importance and logging has threatened this species in the past (1) (10). In addition, habitat loss is putting further pressure on this tree, as agricultural practices begin to encroach on the forest (1). Alongside this, the release of livestock into the forest, in particular deer, has proven problematic, as these herbivores graze on sapling trees, limiting their growth (11). Seed predation by insects is also thought to affect regeneration of the Chilean cedar in the wild (1).
Fires, both natural and deliberate, also threaten the persistence of the Chilean cedar, and if current climate change predictions are correct, there may be an increase in the frequency and severity of fires affecting this species (12). Climate change may also cause prolonged periods of water stress and drought, with as yet unknown effects on the Chilean cedar (13).
Over the last 50 years, in the wetter habitats where the Chilean cedar occurs, an unidentified disease affecting the roots has resulted in a condition known as ‘mal de ciprés’. Most likely caused by a soil-borne pathogen, this causes the trees to wither, lose their leaves and often be reduced in size (6).