ARGENTINA

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Argentina is the second-largest country in South America and covers much of the southern portion of the continent.

At over 2,000 miles in length, it contains within its borders a diverse range of ecoregions.

In the subtropical north, Yungas Forest and Atlantic Forest are situated either side of the semiarid Gran Chaco, which gives way to savanna, wetlands, and the rolling plains of the Pampas in the east. High-altitude puna grasslands occupy the Andes Mountains to the west, while cactus-studded desert can be found in the central Argentine Monte. The vast, rugged expanse of Patagonia lies to the south, a land of lakes, fjords, glaciers and steppes which terminates in Tierra del Fuego, the closest mainland landmass to Antarctica.

 
 

Unsurprisingly for a country with such an array of habitats, Argentina is high in biodiversity.

There are just over 1,000 species of bird here, as well as extensive flora and many hundreds of mammal, reptile and amphibian species, including Jaguars, Orcas, and Critically Endangered frogs.

Climate change and agricultural expansion pose a great threat to the life of Argentina, with droughts, floods and wildfires exacerbated by practices like cattle ranching that degrade habitat. The country lost 16% of its tree cover in the first two decades of the 21st century, and if we do not act now, Argentina’s rich biodiversity will continue to decline.

 

Our partners in Argentina

Our projects in Argentina

 
Chaco Taguá Biological Corridor

In Argentina’s Córdoba Province, less than 5% of native forests remain following years of logging, wildfires and urbanisation.

The Chaco Taguá Biological Corridor will protect a significant portion of these forests as well as large parts of the Chaqueña, the second-largest forest area in South America, which itself has faced significant deforestation due to agricultural expansion.

With this project, our partner Fundación Biodiversidad Argentina aims to connect and expand two protected areas within Córdoba, preserving threatened ecosystems and allowing native wildlife – including the once-thought extinct Chacoan Peccary – to travel safely across the landscape.

 
Estancia la Esperanza

This former sheep ranch covers 16,555 acres (6,700 ha) of Patagonian Coastal Desert Steppe habitat in Chubut Province. It is now managed for its biodiversity, including important populations of Puma, Guanaco and Patagonian Mara, as well as offshore congregations of Killer Whale and Southern Right Whale.

Fundación Patagonia Natural (FPN) protect La Esperanza through their team of rangers, who are present on the site year-round to ensure that poaching, wildfires and other threats are minimised. To provide income for the ongoing management and protection of the reserve, FPN are currently establishing ecotourism opportunities and developing facilities for visiting students and volunteers.

The reserve was badly impacted by a major fire in 2016, which burned over 9,885 acres (4,000 ha) of the reserve. Since the fire, FPN have been monitoring the recovery of the vegetation and dependent wildlife (particularly Guanaco) and increasing firefighting training and capacity for their wardens.

 
 
El Pantanoso

This reserve, managed by Fundación Biodiversidad Argentina, protects almost 11,000 acres (4,450 ha) of Yungas cloud forest in the north of the country. It serves as an important ecological corridor for the Jaguar and an Area of Importance for the Conservation of Bats (AICOM), while also providing habitat for the Tucumán Amazon, a parrot endemic to the Yungas ecoregion.

Protecting El Pantanoso is key for the conservation of the Yungas in Jujuy Province as it buffers Calilegua National Park and connects it to Estancia Urundel, restricting access for hunters, loggers and oil prospectors seeking to exploit these large, well-preserved rainforest blocks.

Following WLT’s support to create El Pantanoso in 2016, project activities now focus on the ongoing management of the reserve, funding a ranger salary, improvements to the access road and ongoing biological monitoring.

Jaguar ©Jo-Dale
 
Somuncurá Plateau

The funds raised for this project will facilitate the creation of an 11,675-acre (4,725 ha) reserve – the first ever protected area on the Somuncurá Plateau – and support three years of reserve management by our partner Fundación Hábitat y Desarrollo.

Fencing off vulnerable habitat will promote recovery and repair the damage done by years of unsustainable land use and the introduction of invasive species, which have disrupted Somuncurá’s delicate ecosystem. Many endemic species here have been pushed to the brink of extinction, including our project’s flagship species: the El Rincon Stream Frog.

The entire population of this Critically Endangered “micro endemic” is restricted to a few small streams that the reserve will safeguard.

 
 
Santa Victoria Este Chaco Provincial Reserve

With this project, our partner Natura Argentina aims to create a protected area of over 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) in the dry Chaco forests bordering Bolivia and Paraguay. More than 85% of the Gran Chaco’s original forest cover has been cleared over the last 30 years, primarily to make space for mechanised agriculture and cattle grazing.

The project area is home to both local Indigenous and Creole communities who have requested, and are supportive of, a protected area designation. Up to 400,000 ha (1 million acres) will be declared as strict conservation/Indigenous areas, with integrated forest management occurring in other areas.

More than 3,400 plant species are known to survive in this ecosystem, 400 of which are endemic to the Gran Chaco. Among the 500 bird species that can be found here are Gran Chaco endemics like the Chaco Chachalaca. There are also 150 resident mammal species, including the Jaguar, Giant Anteater, Chacoan Peccary, and eight species of armadillo.

KEY SPECIES

 

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