TERRITORY: HUMAN GEOGRAPHY. DENSITY AND URBANIZATION
The different communities tend to gather in specific areas, although urban planning is nowadays, very pronounced, determines an ever deeper mixing. Over four fifths of the population lives in cities; the rest in villages, in farm estancias (especially in the South) or in agricultural haciendas, or in small mining centers. In this sense, there is a considerable variety of forms of settlement determined by the very variety of environmental conditions, by the type of activity and by the regime of agricultural property imposed in the past. The mountainous areas are underpopulated, with small scattered settlements, such as Aucanquilcha located at 5300m, the highest inhabited locality on the continent. Most of the most populous centers are located on the coast, where they have port functions in relation to more or less large sections of the territory: to the N are located Arica, which is also Bolivia’s main sea outlet, and Antofagasta; further south is La Serena, while Valparaíso is the great port of Santiago; other important coastal centers are T Talcahuano, Valdivia, Puerto Montt. The most populated section of the country is the Valle Central, between Santiago and Concepción, which alone groups 80% of the residents, with a peak of 438 residents / km² in the Región Metropolitana de Santiago, while elsewhere, in the North and in the South, there are averages of 1-4 residents / km², where the density national average is 22 residents / km². Northern Chile is home to mining centers and agricultural oases; the southern one represents the newly conquered land where there are only a few pioneer centers. Santiago alone is home to over a third of the entire Chilean population. It has developed for its fortunate position in the Central Valley and for its easy accessibility to the coast (where it has two satellite towns in Valparaíso and in the elegant seaside resort of Viña del Mar); it is home to numerous industrial complexes and therefore hosts very diversified social classes. Concepción is the main outlet of the southern section of the Valley, as well as hosting important industries.
ECONOMY: AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY, LIVESTOCK AND FISHING
According to smber, 12.6% of the active population is employed in agricultural activity, which contributes 3.9% to the formation of GDP (2008). Although the cultivated land occupies only 3.1% of the territory (also due to the conditions of the land, mainly mountainous and arid), agricultural production is diversified and favored by the temperate climate. Cereal growing generally prevails (however insufficient to satisfy internal needs), with the majority of areas under wheat; going south, maize is grown, followed by cold cereals (barley, oats) and potatoes, while rice-growing is practiced in the northern and central irrigated areas (a crop introduced in Chile in the 1930s and which was immediately a great success). The cultivation of sugar beet is important and even more so that of the vine (the country is the tenth world producer of wine, considered the best in all of America); Finally, particular attention is paid to fruit growing (especially apples, object of export; then pears, peaches, plums, as well as oranges, cherries, grapes and dried fruit). The products for export are mainly grown in large commercial farms (which occupy three quarters of the arable land) located in the central region; in the center-north, on the other hand, there are micro-funds with subsistence crops, such as legumes (beans, chickpeas and lentils) and cereals. The country also produces hemp, flax and jute. § The south, humid and relatively cold, has substantial forest resources (covering more than 20% of the territory), which mainly include southern beeches and conifers, feeding various paper mills (the country is among the world’s leading producers of wood and wood pulp); there are also poplars and eucalyptus trees; moreover, Chile is among the leading exporters of pine in South America. § Livestock breeding is also developed, represented mainly by cattle, in central Chile, and sheep (especially sheep merinos very valuable for their wool), in the southern one, while on the highlands llamas and alpacas are bred, from which a precious wool is obtained; there are also pigs, donkeys, horses and poultry. § Fishing plays a considerable role (Chile is among the world’s leading producers of fish) and feeds the production of oil and fishmeal. Among the species caught, salmon and oysters are particularly important (in the bays of Ancud and Quelalmahue). The main fish conservation and processing centers are located along the coastal strip.