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NATURE IN BUENOS AIRES

Nature Attractions Nature Reserves Fauna Flora

Buenos Aires Nature ...

NATURAL ATTRACTIONS IN BUENOS AIRES

On the outskirts of Buenos Aires one can find attractions that are protected as NATURAL-RESERVES. Amongst those we can mention the following:

BOTIJA ISLAND

Natural Integral Reserve.
Partido San Fernando - Paraná Delta.
It is to be found almost at the edge of the area called the Low Delta. Its islands are box shaped, with an elevated border called "albardón" and a depression in the centre called "pajonal". The area is considered a mixed subtropical forest.
Many plant species, such as rushes, floating water hyacinths, straw and silk cotton tree stands are common. In the "Monte Blanco" (white forest) or marginal forest you can find subtropical shrubs and trees with local names such as "pindo", "agarrapalo", red and white "sarandí", passion flowers, "criollo" willow and river alders.
SPANISH VERSION
NATURALEZA EN ARGENTINA
Nature in Argentina
Antarctica
Buenos Aires
Cordoba
Corrientes
Chubut
Formosa
Iguazu
Jujuy
La Rioja
Mendoza
Misiones
Salta
San Luis
Tierra del Fuego
This reserve is one of the last sanctuaries for the subtropical wildlife that migrates down here from the higher up located so called "misionera" forest. Here you can find wild swamp deer, capybaras, river and coypus (Myocaster coypus), a kind of local beaver, as well as many bird species. In its waters you will find fish with exotic and sometimes local names such as dorados, atherines, "patíes" and catfish, although they are under heavy environmental pressure and some even close to extinction.

BARCA GRANDE RIVER

Fish Reserve.
Partido San Fernando.
This reserve is dedicated to the protection of fish and water plants. Reproduction of all endangered species is favoured. No acts that may disturb the environment are allowed here.

MARTIN GARCIA ISLAND

Natural Integral Reserve.

It is found in the extreme north of the Buenos Aires province, immediately south of where the Uruguay River runs into the Upper "Río de la Plata". It has a surface of 180 hectares (slightly above two thirds of a square mile.). The Office administers it for the Conservation of Natural Environments, under the Ministries of Production and Directorate of the Islands and the Interior department.

The Martín García island is a rocky outcrop belonging to the Brasilia massif, from Precambrian times (about 1800 millions of years back) as differing from the young islands of the Paraná delta, that are of an alluvial origin. On this island, close to the Tandilia region we can find the oldest surface rocks in all of Argentine. Its highest point is located near the lighthouse and in spite of only jutting up 27 m.a.s.l (88.5 ft) it is still the highest island in the Paraná River delta region.

Its coast is made up of natural beaches, mainly full with crystal rocky fragments, interspersed with a little sand. The climate is mild and humid, with a tendency to hot. Average rainfalls reach 1000 mm or almost 40 inches. The island is rich in historical events, which has made it declared a "Historic Place."

The variegated environment and flora of the island has made it one of the most bio diverse spots within the province. The so-called marginal forests are to be found on some coastal sectors of the island, with similar botanical characteristics and composition as the so-called "white mountains" of the Delta. It is an impoverished version of the subtropical forests to be found in the "Misiones" province, north of Buenos Aires.

Tree vegetation is composed of ceibo trees; laurel, a local parent of the Old World laurel, used as a specie; the "Azota caballos" (horse-whipper), a splendid native tree, of big size and beautiful leaf canopy; the "Agarrapalo" or "igua-poi", a specie like a strangling fig, which fruits are very sought after by birds that help in its dispersal; and the "chal-chal", with fleshy fruits which change colour from yellow to orange to end up red. Lianas and other clinging plants are very common in these forests, and we can mention the so-called "cipó" and clematis (angel hair) as being the most abundant.

In spite of its small surface, the number of animal species registered is quite large. Amongst the semi aquatic species the coypu or "coipo" a kind of beaver is worth mentioning, and when not being hunted, becomes quite common and, being diurnal, is quite easy to observe.

Birds make up one of the most notable aspects of the local wildlife, both because of the variety of species as well as their colourful plumage and songs. In the swamplands and on the coastal areas one can see species of big sizes such as the white and also the blue heron, cormorants, the so called "caracolero" (snail gatherer), this last one is a bird of prey with a splendid black plumage with a very curved beak which is dexterously uses to pull out snails from their shells, these being his favourite food. We can also mention the greenfinch and the "pico de plata" the silver beak.

On the island one can see the remnants of all the uses it has been out to over the centuries (quarry, prison, quarantine station and lepers colony, amongst others) all of which is reflected in its architecture. There is a developed network of small roads and walking paths, which allow for short and medium distance circuits, ideal for bicycle tours. Points of interest for visitors are the cinema theatre, the cemetery, the lighthouse, the Chinatown, the cannon emplacements, the riverside forest and the sand pit.

THE SOUTHERN COASTAL PARK

Biosphere Reserve.
Punta Indio.
In 1937, by Law 4.621, the preservation of the existing groves of hackberry trees in the Partidos of Magdalena, Castelli, Dolores, Conesa and Madariaga, was decreed, thus creating the basis for this reserve. In 1984 the Centre for the Study and Preservation of the Environment, the "CEPA- Spanish acronym" Foundation proposed the creation of a park with the characteristics of an "open reserve", in accordance with the MAB (Man and Biosphere Programme) of the UNESCO, which also supports it.

The area was declared World Reserve of Natural and Cultural Biosphere on December 8th, 1984. At present the co ordinations to carry forward the project are in the hands of the Magdalena Municipality, the La Plata National University and the CEPA Foundation.

Its extension is along the waterfront for over 70 kilometres (approximately 43.5 miles) with an average width of five kilometres (approximately 3 miles). It is characterised by a diversity of landscapes and natural habitats, as a result of the confluence of the different systems represented by the Rio de la Plata River and the Pampas plain: from the beaches with their fine yellow sand to the banks of murex and the swamps and marshlands.

MARGINAL FOREST OF PUNTA LARA

Integral Reserve
Partido Ensenada
.
This reserve is to be found 18 kilometres (approximately 11 miles) from the city of La Plata, along the riverbank. It is the southernmost example of the so called "selvas en galería" (corridor forests) that border the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers, with a subtropical vegetation similar to that in southern Brazil and in most of the Argentinean Province of Misiones, differing much from the surrounding vegetation.

It shows all the typical subtropical forest characteristics: little light and huge trees that keep the air and forest floor humid, which favours the development of lower story plants. The Las Cañas stream flows through the area. There are numerous arthropods, amphibians, some mammals, and a great variety of bird life. A Visitors Centre organises guided tours.

THE NORTHERN RIVERBANK ECOLOGICAL RESERVATION AREA "RIBERA NORTE"

Natural Reserve
Partido Vicente López.

It was established as a natural refuge in 1983, through an agreement between the "Vida Silvestre" (Wildlife) Foundation and the Municipality of San Silvestre. It is a coastal flood area. It has a huge central lake that communicates with the Río de la Plata River. There are many willows, ceibas, "sarandíes", cattails, reeds, "rosa china" (Chinese rose) and a few small orchids. There are many birds in the area: Argentinean ducks, Anis, "Bruja" (witch) herons, Turkish doves, Woodpigeons, Green Hummingbirds, etc. Amongst mammals we can mention the "cuis" and the coypus. The river is very contaminated and there is a lot of poaching.

THE DR. C. SPEGAZZINI MYCOLOGIC RESERVE

Mycological and Botanical Reserve.
Partido Lomas de Zamora.

It encompasses the Santa Catalina forest. The area belongs to the La Plata National University. The 60 hectares of forest is found within the area, and the old nucleus is the remnants corresponding to the poplars that were planted here by the people of the first agricultural colony that settled here. The particular conditions reigning in the forest and its relative isolation, has allowed for a unique and varied fungus flora to develop.

THE PEREYRA IRAOLA NATIONAL PARK

Partido Berazategui.
It covers an area of approximately 11000 hectares (approximately 24200 acres.) and is divided into three areas: Santa Rosa, San Juan of the Lowlands and San Juan of the Highlands. Santa Rosa is an area, which has kept many previously existing installations in order to promote tourist and recreational activities. Here you will find what used to be the old Santa Rosa Estancia Ranch mansion, which today harbours the Latin-American School of Informatics. There are also spaces for horticultural plots, a tree species botanical garden, an experimental plant nursery, a wildlife breeding station (ECAS - Spanish acronym) and a biological station specialised in wild birds. (EBAS - Spanish acronym).

San Juan of the Lowlands is located between the General Roca Railroad lines at Quilmes and the Río de la Plata River with its corridor forests. There are many tree species such as eucalyptus, local "araucaria", oaks, acacias, pines and other. Regarding wildlife we can mention endemic birds i.e. baker birds (Furnarius rufus), the "Benteveo" (comeIseeyou), "Pirincho", Woodpigeons, "Ciflón", Calanders, and others.

On the other hand, San Juan of the Highlands is situated between the General Roca Railroad line at Quilmes and those at Tamperley and the Parque Centenario Road. Here you can find hundred years old tree groves and green open desolate looking spaces.

THE ELSA SHAW DE PEARSON FOUNDATION

Private Natural Reserve.
Partido Magdalena.

It is a rolling lowlands area, bordering the river and banks of Murex. Small islands of hackberry trees and local "Coronillos" grow up there. The rest of the area is covered by grassy pastureland. Regarding wildlife there are more than 13 species of amphibians, numerous reptiles, mammals and more than 100 species of birds.

THE E. TORQUINST NATIONAL PARK
AND THE LA BLANQUEADA INTEGRAL RESERVE.


Partido Torquinst.
It is located in the mountains of Sierra de la Ventana (the Window Range). It occupies 6718 hectares (almost 14800 acres) and was formed and through the purchases and donation of plots by its owner: Martín Torquinst. Of this area only 583 hectares (approximately 1282 acres) have been declared an Integral Reserve. These are located at the place called La Blanqueada. The area is crossed by valleys giving birth to streams like the Sauce Grande (Big Willow) and the Sauce Corto (Short Willow), and smaller rivulets like the Loro (Parrot) and Ventana (Window). The Window mountain peak (1134 m.a.s.l. approximately 3450 ft) with its characteristic hole has been declared a National Monument.

The grazing fields that are found between the mountains are rolling surrounding plains, which have been heavily modified as a result of cattle breeding and forestry activities. Those areas that have been spared are made out of "vizcacha" straw grazing land with its characteristic wildlife: ground non flying birds, birds of prey and carrion eaters, just to mention a few, foxes, armadillos and vizcachas.

These mountain pastures are located on the softly rolling, isolated, northern looking slopes: One can find "Flechillas", grasses, herbs and shrub land. The most characteristic animal is the lama and alpaca precursor, the Guanaco. Rocks or rocky outcrops make up the most characteristic ecological niches in the mountains: they have become refuges for plants and animals, many of them are only found here: the silver pine and the locally named "Iguana de cobre" (Copper iguana).

Along the shores of the watercourses and the slopes leading down to them there are fields of straw that are taller than a man. One can find amphibians, birds and rodents, such as the capybara. Here you will also find a Centre for Ecological Knowledge installed in the Administrative offices of the Park. There the visitor can observe a general panorama of the flora, wildlife and the different types of soils found in the area, all shown through window displays and on boards. In order for the visitor to be geographically aware where he (or she) is in the mountain area, the main room shows a miniature scale model of the area of the area, showing points of interest for tourists apart from showing the whole park area.

There is also an ecological 35 minutes audiovisual show called the "Sierra de la Ventana" (the Window Mountain Range). Afterwards there is a guide tour through the forestry plant nursery and the breeding pens for guanacos and deer. This Ecological Centre is attended by Park guards and Tourist Guides. It is open all year round, although out-of-season visitors have to make previous arrangements.

THE SAN BLAS BAY

Integral Reserve.
Partido Patagones.

It encompasses the islands of Jabalí, Gama and Flamenco. It is a permanent site and breeding place for the common sea lion, but you will also occasionally find elephant seals, killer whales and other whale species, all of them protected by law. Furthermore, it is an assembly place for birds living among the rushes and sea birds with local names such as "Osteros", gulls, weaverbirds, and others. One can also find American ostriches, red partridges, "Corpetonas" and flamingos.

THE LAGUNA DE ALSINA ISLAND

Integral Reserve.
Partido Guaminí.

The island has an extension of 46 hectares (slightly above 100 acres). It has a low coastline. On its westernmost side there is a small promontory of only three metres height (approximately 10 ft). The vegetation is characterised by grasses with some "Chañar" groves and in the lower part by typical saline soils vegetation. Among mammals found we can mention armadillos, small skunks, European hares and otters on the coast. There are many birds, i.e. coots, ducks, geese, Chinese partridges, gulls and others.

THE COAST OF SAMBOROMBON BAY

Integral Reserve.
Partido Castelli y Tordillo.

Low floodplains. It has no agricultural or cattle breeding possibilities. The marshlands are covered with the typical estuary halophytic vegetation. The large presence of crabs has given it its local name of "cangrejal". It is a spawning area for certain migratory sea fish of commercial and sport value: striped mullet, corvine and atherine. This reserve was created to protect endemic specie threatened by extinction: the Pampas deer.

THE TUYU PLAINS

Private Natural Reserve.
Partido General Lavalle.

It belongs to the Vida Silvestre (Wildlife) Foundation and was created in 1979 in the Leloir family holdings. Its aim is to protect and conserve the Pampas deer. There are also many other mammals and also has a great variety of bird life.

RINCON DE AJO

Integral Reserve.
Partido General Lavalle.

It is an area covered with black crab swamps, marshlands and coastal straw areas, crisscrossed by small streams and tidal canals. It is the permanent or transitory habitat of more than 41 mammal species, 76 bird species, and a great variety of reptiles, amphibians and fish. You can also occasionally find the Pampas deer crossing through.

LAGUNA SALADA GRANDE

Forestry Reserve.
Partido General Madariaga.


It was specially created to protect and conserve the natural hackberry tree stands in the area. Their importance resides in them being the only native natural tree growth on the whole of the immense Pampas plains. One can also find "coronillo", "sombra de toro" (bull shade), elderberry trees, senna and others.

THE ATLANTIC DUNES

Integral Reserve.
Partido Mar Chiquita.

Twenty kilometres (slightly over 12 miles) of sand dunes and beaches make up this Atlantic coastal reserve.

THE MAR DEL PLATA PORT

Private Natural Reserve.
Partido Tandil.

It protects and preserves the lakes situated within the fiscal area of the port, in between the Gas de Estado and the state owned YPF petroleum plant. These lakes form part of the stop and resting places for migratory birds in South America, apart from containing endemic wildlife and habitats.

CURRAL DE LA LAGUNA DE LOS PADRES

Botanical Reserve.
Partido General Pueyrredón.

It is located in the foothills of the Sierras de los Padres range, close to the Tandil Lake and Mountain range. It has an extension of 96 hectares (approximately 210 acres). It is rolling hill land, with softly inclined hillsides covered by thickets of a thorny bush called "curro". These thickets play an important role in maintaining the soil, acting as an agent against erosion and also gives rise to more benign micro climate ecological niches which favour a very special variety of wildlife.

SIERRA DEL TIGRE

Private Natural Reserve.
Partido Tandil.

It is located six kilometres (about four miles) from the centre of the city of Tandil. It has an extension of 140 hectares (slightly above 300 acres), totally fenced in. this is an area of the Tandil Range that has kept its original composition with natural sources of water, caves and grazing lands. Geological crystal formations of the so-called Tandil system make up 40% of its rocky surface.
There are natural grasses growing there, but unfortunately exotic tree species have been brought in from other places, which have altered the natural conditions of the area. Amongst the most notable mammal species we may mention the Red Marten and the grey Pampas fox. Guanacos have also been introduced to the area. It has a small zoo with endemic and exotic species. (Red deer).

DIQUE Y ACUEDUCTO DE LAS PIEDRAS

Partido Torquinst and Coronel Pringles
This area is protected since it constitutes the catchment area of drinking water for the city of Bahia Blanca. It is an ideal place to practice water sports.

NATURAL RESERVES IN BUENOS AIRES

There are many different kinds of natural reserves in Argentina. According to their administration, characteristics and objectives they are classified as follows:

1) The Provincial Parks:
These are reserves, which due to their natural attractions fulfil a double objective: To protect the environment as well as offer a space for recreation and education. As stated: "In order to determine the different uses of their area and to order the activities therein, the Parques Provinciales Provincial Parks must be zoned".

2) The Integral Natural Reserves:
These are reserves which are established to protect nature as a whole, where only scientific expeditions are allowed to enter, always that no alterations are made to the environment, whether on its wild or plant life or its physical properties. In such Reserves the maintenance of the natural ecosystems and the restoration or recuperation of degraded lands are of the utmost importance, since this will allow for their sustainability under the most natural conditions possible. Access is totally limited.

3) Natural Reserves with Specific Objectives:
These have been constituted to protect the soil, the flora, the fauna and natural or cultural sites or objects. Human activities are allowed, but must follow established rules. They may have been established to protect botanical, wildlife, geological or paleontological areas of interest and/or watersheds, areas of scenic value (aesthetic values), educational (for educational and teaching purposes) as well as those with mixed objectives.

4) Multiple Use Reserves:
These are basically oriented towards the investigation and experimentation of the natural and sustainable use of the environment and the natural resources with all the species therein contained. They may include areas modified by man in order to be used for comparative studies on the impact of degraded lands vs. natural ecosystems. Zoning is imposed by law.

5) Wildlife Shelters:
Theses are areas that require protection due to their special characteristics or because they contain habitats of critical importance for the survival of endangered species of flora and fauna. For this reason the collecting of specimens or hunting is permanently and totally forbidden with the exception of the collecting of specimen for scientific purposes or for zoo exhibits.

Natural Monuments:

Apart from the classification of Natural Reserves, Argentinean law allows for the possibility to declare National Monument to areas, objects or living species of animals and plants for their aesthetic, historical or scientific interest and which need a total protection.
These can be either on the surface of the land or in watercourses or under the sea. They can also be found within the boundaries of a Natural Reserve, but the fact of their being declared a National Monument means that the will receive special attention. As an example, in the Province of Buenos Aires we will find that the Cerro de la Ventana Mountain and Stag or the Deer of the Pampas have both been declared National Monuments.
The natural hackberry tree forests are considered in the public domain, to avoid their destruction, since it is the only original and proper tree specie of the Pampas Plains. All inland public and private watercourses and lakes were declared to be Tourist Reserves in the year 1972.

FAUNA IN BUENOS AIRES

The region was populated by a rich variety of species a century ago. Those that were once abundant are now hard to find.

Amongst the mammals we have the exotic deer, venison, guanacos, wild boars, pampas cat, pumas, tayras, grey foxes, armadillos, hairy armadillos, zorrillas, gatos monteses, otters, tucutucos or a specie of wild rabbit described by Darwin, guinea pigs, hares, rabbits, vizcachas, weasels and capybaras. Species such as the jaguar, yaguareté or the tigre are almost totally extinguished. Only the bat has adapted to the cities, where it can find insects to feed on and good hideouts.

Amongst the birds we have the common rhea, and the carancho or caracara, ducks, herons and flamingos standing out. Besides the southern lapwing tero, the kingfisher, the Crested Screamer and the parrot; and a diversity of birds such as the hummingbird, the streaked flycatcher,the plover and the pale-legged hornero.

There is in addition a variegated reptile fauna such as the perilous fer de lance, green caimans, turtles, iguanas and batrachians as well.

In contrast with the land fauna, the sea fauna is very rich and it can be watched almost all along Buenos Aires' coastline. Amongst the aquatic mammals we have the dolphin of La Plata, which lives in the river, and the blue dolphin, known by the name of tonina.

FLORA IN BUENOS AIRES

There is a forest on the riverbanks of the delta of the Paraná River splattered with exotic species such as the bald cypress, the casuarina, the so-called oak of the marshes, the jacarandá and the araucaria. Amongst the delta's native species we have the crossbred willow, the espinillo, the fumo bravo, the ibapoy and the pindó palm trees.

On the riverbanks of the Paraná: willows, ceibas, laurels and locust trees.

In gullies and lagoons: cattails, reeds, cortaderas, espadañas, and espertillos.

On the sands: olivillo

On the sierras: the almost extinguished currumamuel and exotic plants such as the: eucalyptus, poplars, paraísos, pine trees, casuaruinas, tamariscos, etc.

In the forest on the riverbanks of La Plata: ceibos, laurels, willows and ombúes.

In the western forest: brea, jarilla, retamo, malle chañar, locust tree, alpataco, visco, arca, etc.

In the eastern zone the clayish, compact and little aired ground determines the lack of trees and the predominance of grasses.

In the western zone the sandy soil of the steppe determines the predominance of herbaceous species.

 


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