National Forest Corporation (Chile)

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The National Forest Corporation (Corporación Nacional Forestal, or Conaf) is a Chilean government agency that is part of the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile. It administers the forest policies of Chile and promotes the development of the sector with sustainable forest management. Conaf was created on May 13, 1970 as the "Reforestation Corporation" (Corporación de Reforestación). In 1973 it acquired its current powers, organization and name. Conaf is also the governing body of all National parks of Chile, including those without forest or major vegetation such as Llullaillaco National Park. In 1976 it adopted Forestín, a coypu, as mascot.

Technically, CONAF is currently NOT a Chilean government agency. It is a private corporation (corporación de derecho privado) and wholly dependent upon the Ministry of Agriculture. The function that the present corporation performs was under the name "Reforestation Corporation" (Corporación de Reforestación) (COREF) which was created in 1970.

In 1984, under Chilean law Nº 18.348, a move was made to modify the private corporation status of CONAF and make it a government agency. However, as of October 2012, such a status change has not taken place.

Despite the "private corporation" legal status of CONAF, its executive director is appointed by the president of Chile.

In October of 2012 the Chilean senate considered, and rejected, a proposal to convert the "private corporation" nature of CONAF to that of a public (government) agency. The rejected proposal would have created a National Forest Service (Servicio Nacional Forestal). During the legislative proceedings, there was testimony that addressed the "anomalous" nature of a private corporation performing functions that should be performed by a wholly government agency or agencies.