The Annotated Ramsar List: Argentina


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The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Argentina on 4 September 1992. Argentina presently has 19 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 5,318,376 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Bahía de Samborombón.24/01/97; Buenos Aires; 243,965 ha; 36º15’S 057º15’W. An extensive, intertidal zone which includes marshes, tidal channels, brackish swamps, and crab and mud flats. Vegetation is predominantly herbaceous, forming a mosaic of communities crisscrossed by meandering freshwater streams, creating a complex hydrological system with a diversity of wetland types. Human activities include cattle ranching, fishing, hunting, firewood cutting and nutria trapping (Myocastor coypus). The site is a source for domestic water. There are a conservation education centre and biology station at the site. Ramsar site no. 885. Most recent RIS information: 1997.

Bañados del Río Dulce y Laguna de Mar Chiquita.28/05/02; Córdoba; ca. 996,000 ha; 30°23'S 062°46'W. Reserva Provincial de Uso Múltiple.The largest and most important endorheic catchment in Argentina, the site comprises the large saline lake Mar Chiquita (one of the largest saline lakes in the world, with waters varying between saline and hypersaline), the expansive swamps of the Río Dulce (or Río Petri) on the northern shore, and the mouths of several secondary rivers to the south. The site fulfils all eight of the Ramsar Criteria and is considered one of the most important wetlands in Argentina and in the Chaco ecoregion in terms of the richness of its biodiversity in a range from freshwater to very saline. A number of species meet the waterbird Criteria, including Egretta thula (400,000 individuals), Phalaropus tricolor (200,000), Phalacrocorax olivaceus (42,000), Bubulcus ibis (60,000), and Plegadis chihi (400,000), and at least 4 species above the 1% threshold. Some 27 species of fish are known to breed in the site. Livestock raising and fishing are principal land uses, with some forestry and agriculture. The area holds enormous anthropological interest for the ancient peoples and lifestyles in evidence and abundance of archaeological sites. Ramsar site no. 1176.Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Glaciar Vinciguerra y turberas asociadas. 16/09/09; Tierra del Fuego; 2,760 ha; 54º45’S 068º20’W. The southernmost Ramsar site in the world at the time of designation, located in Tierra del Fuego Province at an altitude between 200 and 1300 m, covers glaciers; lakes; Sphagnum-, Cyperacea-, and tree-dominated peatlands; Nothofagus (Southern beech) forests; and permanent and seasonal rivers. Among the flora, Skottsbergia paradoxa, an endemic and threatened moss species, stands out. The glaciers and peatlands, excellent natural water reservoirs, play an important role in the “Arroyo Grande” watershed regulation, a river that is the primary water source of the city of Ushuaia. The presence of the Vinciguerra glacier and the Andorra valley’s peatlands contribute to the scenic beauty of the site, which attracts local and foreign tourists. The threats to this site are horse rearing (animals feed on Nothofagus sprouts), tree cutting for domestic use and, to a lesser extent, peat extraction. Additionally, climate change affects Vinciguerra glacier stability. The site acts as a buffer area between the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the suburban expansion of Ushuaia. Ramsar site no. 1886. Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Humedal Laguna Melincué. 24/07/08; Santa Fe; 92,000 ha; 33°43’S 061°30’W. Multiple Use Reserve. The lagoon constitutes a wetland of regional and continental relevance, and it is of great importance for resident and migratory species. It is one of the two floodplain wetlands that support one of the most important populations of the Andean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus) in its winter distribution. This species is considered to be the rarest of the five flamingo species found at a global level. Among the wetland’s hydrological values are the recharge of aquifers and the moderation of extreme temperatures registered in the area. The threats that negatively affect this site are related to human activities, such as livestock, agriculture, and waste water disposal. Ramsar site no. 1785. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Humedales Chaco.02/02/04; Chaco; 508,000 ha.; 27°20'S 058°50'W. Covering part of the Paraná and Paraguay Rivers floodplain complex in the eastern border of Chaco province, limited to the north by the Bermejo River and surrounding the city of Resistencia. The hydrological regimes of each river give rise to different pulses of flood and drought in these wetlands, regulating floods downstream and retaining water in times of drought. The landscape is a complex of open water, aquatic vegetation, grasslands and gallery forests. Wildlife in these forests shares traits with that of the Humid Chaco and the Amazon region, and representative tree species are the "Ibira-Pitá" Peltophorum vogelianum, the "Lapacho negro" Tabebuia ipe, Nectandra falcifolia and Enterolobium contortosilquum. Several endangered species inhabit the site, including the Marsh Deer Blastocerus dichotomus, the Neotropical Otter Lutra longicaudis, the Bare-faced Curassow Crax fasciolata. Crocodilians (Caiman latirostris, C. crocodylus), the Coscoroba Swan Coscoroba coscoroba, and the endemic South American lungfish Lepidosiren paradoxa are also found. Economically important fish species are the Sorubims Pseudoplatystoma coruscans and P. fasciatum and Manguruyu Paulicea lutkeni. Cattle raising and rice crops are important activities, followed by soybean and sorghum. Hydrological changes have been noticeable since the 1960s, with dam building in the Upper Paraná in Brazil, deforestation, and increase in precipitation. WWF and Fundación Proteger supported the site designation. Ramsar site no. 1366.

Jaaukanigás.10/10/01; Santa Fe; 492,000 ha; 28°45’S 059°15’W. "Jaaukanigás" means "people of the water", a reference to one of the local populations who lived there in the middle of the 18th century. The Parana River is one of the largest and more diverse in the world, the second in South America after the Amazon. An extensive complex of rivers, lagoons, pools, permanent freshwater marshes and seasonally inundated grassland, interspersed with riparian woodland and gallery forest, makes this site one of paramount importance from the biodiversity and hydrological point of view in Argentina. The site provides habitat for a large number of species, some vulnerable or threatened with extinction, such as Lontra longicaudis, Tamandua tetradactyla,Chrysocyon brachyurus, Caimanyacare,C. latirostris, Eunectes notaeus,Tupinambis merianae, Boiruna maculata, and Hydrops triangularis. Ther is an important population of ducks, including Netta peposaca, Dendrocygnabicolor and D. viduata, and migratory birds such as Calidris melanotos, C. fuscicollis, C. bairdii, Tringa melanoleuca, T. flavipes, T. solitaria and Limosa haemastica are also found. There is a very rich aquatic life, with about 300 fish species, which are key for the regional economy, as 50% of the population in the area live by fishing. Sport fishing and ecotourism are important economic activities as well. Ramsar site no. 1112. Most recent RIS information: 2001.

Laguna Blanca. 04/05/92; Neuquén; 11,250 ha; 39º02’S 070º21’W. National Park, National Reserve. Large, shallow, permanent, freshwater lagoon fed by small rivers and subject to seasonal fluctuations. The lagoon, situated in semi-arid Patagonian steppe dominated by bushy plants, supports submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation. The surrounding area is an important nesting site for several species of waterbirds and is used for grazing livestock. Other fauna include the endemic frog Atelognathus patagonicus and the mammal Lagidium viscacia. Ramsar site no. 556. Most recent RIS information: 1996.

Laguna de Llancanelo. 08/11/95; Mendoza; 65,000 ha; 35º45’S 069º08’W. Provincial Faunal Reserve. A high altitude, saline lake situated on a large salt crust, in a semi-desert environment. Water originating from mountain snow melt determines seasonal lake levels. Most vegetation is drought or salt tolerant. A limited mountain scrub flora and Patagonian steppe reach the area around the lake. The system supports internationally significant populations of waterbirds (74 species), 15 migratory bird species in summer, 24 regularly nesting and two endangered species. A population of 8,000 Coscoroba coscoroba take refuge while flightless during post-breeding molt. Human activities include ranching, grazing, illegal fishing, and hunting. Water provides for domestic and irrigation needs. Placed on the Montreux Record on 2 July 2001. Subject of a Ramsar Advisory Mission in November 2001. Ramsar site no. 759. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Laguna de los Pozuelos.04/05/92; Jujuy; 16,224 ha; 22º20’S 066º00’W. Biosphere Reserve; Natural Monument. A permanent lagoon of fluctuating salinity, surrounded by scrubby, semi-arid steppe, extensive marsh and rich grassland. One of the most important sites for waterbirds and Nearctic-breeding shorebirds in the Northern Andean region. Up to 26,000 flamingos use the site and one species nests here. Local people graze livestock. Ramsar site no. 555. Most recent RIS information: 1996.

Lagunas Altoandinas y Puneñas de Catamarca. 02/02/09; Catamarca; 1,228,175 ha; 26º52’S 067º56’W. UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The site consists of two subsites located in the northwest of Argentina, between 3,010m and 6,885m a.s.l., and includes a complex of high Andean endorheic river basins representative of the Central Dry Puna: shallow meso- and hypersaline lakes, shallow and deep brackish lakes, and deep hypersaline lakes. 19,000 individuals of Puna flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) and 2,100 of Andean flamingo (P. andinus) gather in this site, which represents 18% and 6% of the worldwide population of these species, respectively. The site also hosts several endemic species of the High Andean Puna, such as the Giant Coot (Fulica gigantean), Andean Avocet (Recurvirostra andina), Crested Duck (Anas specularioides alticola), Vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), Andean Fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus) and a frog species endemic to the Catamarca region (Telmatobius hauthali). In addition, IUCN Red List threatened species Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) and short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla brevicaudata) occur in the area, as well as 14 migratory species (e.g. Calidris melanotos, C. bairdii, and Tringa flavipes). This High Andean wetland is a highly vulnerable and fragile ecosystem and is threatened by overgrazing, unregulated tourism, mining prospecting and flamingo egg collection. The area is one of the 14 priority sites of the Wetland Network of Importance for Conservation of High-Andes Flamingos in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. Part of the Ramsar site is protected under the Biosphere Reserve Laguna Blanca. Ramsar site no.  Most recent RIS information: 2009.

Lagunas de Guanacache, Desaguadero y del Bebedero. 14/12/99; Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis; 962,370 ha; 33°00’S 67°36’W. A long system of linked lagoons and marshes fed by the Mendoza and San Juan Rivers in the provinces of those names. The system drains into the Desaguadero River and covers an area of some 10,000 square km. The dominant wetland type is "seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes", but the site also includes "seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks", "seasonal/intermittent/ freshwater marshes/pools", "shrub-dominated wetlands", and some other less frequent wetland types. There is a rich biodiversity associated with the system, with more than 50 species of waterbirds. The system has suffered a number of natural and anthropogenic alterations which have considerably reduced the area covered by the lagoons and marshes. A rehabilitation program is being implemented. The local communities include some 2000 people, known as the "laguneros", whose customs and traditions are based in the lagoons and their resources. The provincial governments of Mendoza and San Juan are cooperating closely in the site designation and management. In 1999, the Ramsar/US Government Wetlands for the Future Initiative financed a First Training Workshop for the Local Community and Intermediate Institutions for the Rehabilitation and Management of the Lagunas de Guanacache. The designation of the Lagunas as a Ramsar site is a further step in the efforts to rehabilitate and conserve the system. The site was significantly extended from 580,000 to 962,370 hectares in 2007. Ramsar site no.1012. Most recent RIS information: 2007.

Lagunas de Vilama.20/09/00; Jujuy; 157,000 ha; 22°36’S 066°55’W. Part of Reserva Altoandina de la Chinchilla (provincial). Includes more than ten Andean highland lagoons that occupy endorrheic depressions in the extreme northwest of the country at 4,500 meters above sea level. The lagoons have diverse characteristics, from saline and deep to hypersaline and shallow. They provide habitat for a very rich aquatic bird life, with a good number of endemic and/or endangered species (flamingos Phoenicoparrus andinus,P. jamesi, and coots Fulica cornuta); in addition, a diversity of Nearctic migrating species find a feeding place here. In the plains that surround the lagoons, locally called "ciénegos", other endangered species like vicuñas and "ñandú" (South American ostrich; Pterocnemia pennata garleppi) are present. These "ciénegos" also provide grazing resources for herds of domestic camelids (llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, etc.) and sheep of the local people who practice traditional modes of transhumance. In addition to these plains, the most prevalent vegetation are characteristic of shrub steppes and Andean highland pastures. Numerous archeological sites attest to significant human populations from 5,000 years ago, and the lagoons continue to hold ritual significance. Ramsar site no. 1040.Most recent RIS information: 2000.

Lagunas y Esteros del Iberá.18/01/02; Corrientes; 24,550 ha; 28°31'S 057°09'W. Natural Reserve. Located in Corrientes province in the northeast of of the country, the site is centered about the Laguna del Iberá and is part of the macrosystem of Iberá, a catchment area of some 1.3 million hectares drained by the Río Corriente into the middle reaches of the Paraná, representative of wetland types found in Corrientes and southeastern Paraguay. Iberá Lake, at 5,500 hectares, is one of the largest and most characteristic components of the system - with an average depth of 3m, it is almost always clear with variations caused by seasonal growth of plankton. The site supports high biological diversity, including an appreciable number of endemic species. Among rare, vulnerable, and endangered species covered by CITES within the site are the yacaré overo, or Broad-snouted caiman (Caiman latirostris), yacaré negro (C. Yacare), anaconda amarilla or curiyú (Eunectes notaeus), the pato crestudo (Sarkidiornis melanotos), the Neotropical otter "lobito de río" (Lontra longicaudis), and ciervo de los pantanos, or Marsh deer (Blastoceros dichotomus), among others. The surrounding marshlands of Esteros del Iberá support a sizable number of indigenous fish species and subspecies at key stages of their biological cycles, particularly Salminus maxillosus. Agriculture, particularly rice, and grazing are practiced in the area, and the development of ecotourism is foreseen.Ramsar site no. 1162. Most recent RIS information: 2002.

Parque Provincial El Tromen.02/02/06; Neuquén; 30,000 ha.; 37°05S 070°06'W. Natural Protected Area. Reaching an altitude of up to 3,978 above sea level, this wetland forms a complex hydrological system in which the snowmelt slips through cracks in the basaltic bedrock and rises again at the base of the mountains to create small water bodies that in turn feed a variety of High Andean Wetlands. Apart from being a high Andean wetland representative of the Patagonia region, containing a rich biodiversity and serving as a resting and feeding ground for several waterfowl species, the wetland also qualifies as a Ramsar site under the recently added Criterion 9, being the only site known to host the endemic lizard Liolaemus punmahuida. Although the approval of the management plan is still underway, park rangers enforce some protective measures such as a total ban on hunting. Ramsar site no. 1626. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

Reserva Costa Atlantica de Tierra del Fuego. 13/09/95; Tierra del Fuego; 28,600 ha; 53º20’S 068º30’W. Provincial Nature Reserve. Ramsar’s most southern site shares a border with Chile. Composed of shallow coastal waters, intertidal zones, extensive mudflats and lowland hills and cliffs characterized by grassland, pastures, drought-tolerant plant communities, with patches of Notophagus woodland. An endemic bird area, outstanding for its variety of species, which provides important nesting areas for seriously endangered Chloephaga rubidiceps and wintering sites for internationally important numbers of shorebirds. At least 21 species of marine mammals use the waters for breeding, feeding and migration. Human activities include recreation and ranching. Ramsar site no. 754. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur.22/03/2005; Buenos Aires; 353 ha; 34º37'S 058º21'W. Declared a Natural Park and Ecological Reserve in 1986, the site is located in the east of Buenos Aires, the most populated city in Argentina. The site sustains a large population of Cygnus melancorphus swans and other waterfowl. In total, 250 species of birds, 9 of amphibians, 23 of reptiles, 10 of mammals and 50 of butterflies have been identified in the area. Plant varieties also include 245 species from 55 families. Most of these species are highly representative of the biological diversity occurring in the region. Ramsar site no. 1459. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

Reserva Natural Otamendi.22/03/08; Buenos Aires; 3,000 ha; 34º14'S 058º53'W. Nature Reserve. Located in a rich biodiversity area where three biogeographic regions meet: Pastizal Pampeano, Espinal and Delta e Islas del Paraná. The site supports internationally threatened species such as the Dot-winged Crake (Porzana spiloptera) and the Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis). Some endemic species of the region include Straight-billed Reedhaunter (Limnoctites rectirostris), the Bay-capped Wren-spinetail (Spartonoica maluroides), the dark-throated Seedeater (Sporophila ruficollis), and the Marsh Seedeater (Sporophila palustris), as well as a number of mammal species locally threatened by hunting activities, including the Nutria (Myocastor coypus), Capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) and other internationally threatened species. The site is dedicated to conservation activities and the main productive activities carried out include livestock, forestation, tourism and agriculture. Among the potential threats that are found in Otamendi are the invasion of exotic flora and fauna species, the pollution of the water bodies, changes in the hydrological system, and extraction of resources. The site is under national protection as a Natural Reserve and is part of the National System of Protected Areas. A five-year management plan is in place. Ramsar site no. 1750. Most recent RIS information: 2008.

Reserva Provincial Laguna Brava. 02/02/03. Rioja. 405,000 ha. 28°24'S, 69°05'W. Provincial Reserve. Located at altitudes between 2500-4500m above sea level, Laguna Brava includes a system of saline and hyper-saline shallow lagoons. Characteristic high-Andean communities of bofedales (wet-marshy meadows) are found above 3000m. The Reserve is host to a rich biodiversity associated to the wetland, with abundant summer populations of endemic waterfowl, including James' and Andean flamingos (Phoenicoparrus jamesi and P. andinus). The site also has special recognition as a Reserve for Camelids, most notably vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) and guanaco (Lama Guanicoe). Historically, the region was utilized by the Incas as an important enclave for domination of local populations and as a natural Andean transit point to Chile. Currently, it is precisely the development of an international road, plus the possibility of mineral prospecting, which could potentially affect the site. Recent management and zoning measures are to be strengthened to insure the proper long-term conservation of the site. Ramsar site No. 1238. Most recent RIS information: 2003.

Río Pilcomayo. 04/05/92; Formosa; 51,889 ha; 25º30’S 058º30’W. National Park. An extensive complex of rivers, lagoons, pools, permanent freshwater marshes and seasonally inundated grassland, interspersed with riparian woodland and gallery forest. Seasonally flooded savanna grassland with palm trees is the dominant habitat type. The site is notable for its rich terrestrial and waterbird populations. The region is increasingly important for tourism, supporting livestock grazing, and unauthorized hunting. A border is shared with Paraguay. Ramsar site no. 557. Most recent RIS information: 2006.

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