"National parks are one of the greatest expressions of democracy"
National parks are areas with public ownership that shelter the country's principal ecosystems and natural attractions, being protected in perpetuity under the country's laws and managed by the National Parks Authority.
At CLT we devote ourselves to increasing the number, area and quality of Argentina's national parks and promote the establishment of binational parks, by connecting such areas with other similar ones in the countries bordering on Argentina.
At Iberá, a national protected area adjoins another provincial area, to create the largest park in Argentina, covering some 700,000 hectares. An endless wetland or "estero" is located at the center of this great subtropical plain. Varied environments come together around it, such as the Paranaense forest, the Chaco woodlands, the thorn forest and the open grasslands.
Since 1999, CLT has purchased close to 150,000 hectares. They will all end up constituting the Iberá National Park. Currently, some 80,000 hectares have already been donated by CLT to the Argentine government.
The Chaco region houses the second largest forest in South America. In 2011, CLT promoted the creation of a national park at the La Fidelidad Farm: a vast area of continuous forest traversed by the Teuco and Teuquito rivers. In 2012 the 128,000 hectare El Impenetrable National Park was created. Quebracho tree forests, acacia formations, riverine jungles, palm tree forests, grasslands, wetlands and a great diversity of fauna such as the tapir, anteater, puma, maned wolf and peccary coexist at El Impenetrable.
Since 2011, CLT cooperates with national and provincial forest rangers in complying with environmental laws, the development of scientific studies and the promotion of tourism.
This park spreads across the Buenos Aires Plateau [in Santa Cruz province], a wilderness area which houses South America's only plain glacier and contains lakes that are a refuge of the endemic hooded grebe. The plateau also boasts hundreds of petroglyphs made by the originary peoples, and herds of guanaco roam free across it. On its eastern side the park includes the gully of the Pinturas [Paintings] River and the famous Cave of the Hands, with some of the continent's best preserved rock paintings. To the north the future park adjoins the great Lake Buenos Aires, with beautiful turquoise waters.
In 2013, CLT gave the Argentine government a donation of 15,000 hectares next to the already existing Perito Moreno National Park. This property, known as El Rincón, includes one of the most spectacular views of the legendary Mount San Lorenzo. The Lácteo River, of extremely pure waters originating in glaciers, runs along the center of the valley. Around it rise the majestic typical Andean forests of lenga beech. Thanks to the care provided in recent years, the grasslands and forests are recovering and even the endangered South Andean deer begins to be seen again.
CLT cooperated with its sister foundation Patagonian Conservation (in its Spanish acronym, CP) to create the Monte León National Park. This park was created by law in 2004 on the basis of 72,000 hectares donated by our organizations. It is currently the only national park that protects a continuous sample of the Patagonian steppe in its contact with the coast. Guanaco, Darwin's rhea and puma run across its arid grasslands, while large concentrations of penguins and sea lions can be seen along the coast.
This small provincial park was the first reserve Douglas Tompkins created in Argentina. With the collaboration of the Cat Survival Trust, CLT financed the protection of 3,760 hectares of Paranaense or Atlantic forest, one of South America's most endangered and biodiverse ecosystems. In 1997, Piñalito was declared a provincial park and was later incorporated into the "green corridor" (an area of Paranaense forest that cuts across the province of Misiones from north to south).
Piñalito harbors six species of felines: jaguarundi, ocelot, margay, oncilla, puma, and possibly visits of the jaguar. It is also the refuge of endangered species such as the red howler monkey and the endemic Vinaceous Amazon.
The Aconquija Range is formed by steep hills. Large differences in altitude within a few kilometers allow the existence of a very diverse environmental gradient. Yunga mountain forests, mountain grasslands, rocky outcrops, meadows, snow and watercourses that feed the cities and fields of Tucumán and Santiago del Estero provinces and northern Córdoba form part of Aconquija. It is home to various endemic species of plants, amphibians and birds, and of mammals such as the ocelot, puma, collared peccary and the rare taruca deer.
There are tens of Inca ruins dispersed around the area of the project, some of them of worldwide importance such as the "Ciudacita" (Little City) and the remnants of the Inca Road which were declared Cultural Heritage sites by UNESCO.
Yaganes and Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank II will go down in history for being the first marine national parks in Argentina.
The Namuncurá Burwood Bank II national park has ocean floors with a depth of 4,000 m and underwater canyons which contain an outstanding diversity of life. It is also a migration route and source of nourishment for thousands of mammals and birds. Yaganes remains largely unexplored, but there is evidence of the existence of underwater canyons and mountains with a great diversity of species. It is a feeding area for many marine birds and mammals such as the sperm whale, sei whale and fin whale.
Rewilding implies causing parks to regain the features and processes inherent in a true wilderness area. This includes restoring degraded grasslands, mending damaged forests, allowing wetlands to regain their original flow of water, removing unnecessary fences or paths, eliminating or controlling exotic species that harm the native fauna and flora, and preventing the setting up of harmful infrastructures, but above all it implies bringing back the species which have been lost and avoiding the extinction of those that are gravely endangered.
The jaguar is the country's most endangered mammal and Argentina's largest feline. In Corrientes province, jaguars were still sighted towards the middle of last century. The Iberá Park stands out for bringing together the most suitable conditions for restoring a population of jaguars in Argentina, since there is abundant prey and a vast protected area, and there is widespread support among Corrientes dwellers. To achieve this end, a breeding program has been launched for its reintroduction, in the San Alonso sector. This program has five breeding animals and it is expected that the first litters will be born in 2018.
The red-and-green macaw (Ara chloroptera) is a large parrot that inhabited the forests of the northern Iberá and of the Paraná River. Its presence in Corrientes was attested by diverse explorers, and it is currently regarded as extinct in all of Argentina. It is a frugivorous species, hence, it plays a crucial role in the workings of the forests of Corrientes by controlling and dispersing the largest-sized fruit and seeds of native trees. In addition, its eye-catching form and colors turn it into an important tourist attraction. There currently is an initial nucleus of these animals living free in the Cambiretá sector of Iberá.
The anteater or yurumí (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) has a long, toothless snout from which emerges a long tongue with which it feeds on ants and termites. This animal may measure up to two meters in length and may weigh some 50 kg. It became extinct in the Iberá, and surely in the rest of Corrientes, at mid-twentieth century.
In the year 2007 the first pair of anteaters was freed in the Rincón del Socorro Reserve and since then further animals have been freed in that area. The majority of the animals freed had been rescued as cubs whose mothers had been killed by hunters. At the current time, there are clearly established populations in the San Alonso and Rincón del Socorro sectors, and initial nuclei in the Carambola sector and the Don Pablo Ranch, located outside the Iberá.
The tapir (Tapirus terrestris) is the largest land mammal of South America, reaching a weight of 300 kg. It is a solitary animal which feeds on plants, and it used to inhabit the woods and wetlands of the Iberá until the middle of the last century. At this time a small population of this ungulate has been established in the Rincón del Socorro sector of the Iberá Park.
The pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus) was one of the most abundant mammals on the Argentine grasslands. Currently it is believed that only some 3,000 pampas deer remain, divided into four isolated populations in the country. Corrientes still has one of these populations on private ranches located in the Aguapey marshlands, outside the Iberá. In 2009 CLT began to generate a new population in the Iberá Park, within the San Alonso sector. At this time there is a population of more than 100 individuals in this area and another well-established nucleus in the Rincón del Socorro sector.
The hooded grebe (Podiceps gallardoi) is a diving species, endemic to the province of Santa Cruz, which is under critical threat of extinction. During summers this beautiful bird uses the lakes on the Buenos Aires plateau to perform its spectacular courtship and reproduce. At CLT we collaborate with CONICET and Aves Argentinas in the recovery of this unique species. To this end, we finance the operation of the biological station that serves as the base for the monitoring activities and care of the breeding colonies.
The giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) is the large relative of the river otter and was the top predator in the Corrientes aquatic ecosystems, feeding on large fish and yacaré caimans. Up to the mid-twentieth century it was a common sight on the Paraná River near the provincial capital, and its presence in the Iberá has been attested by a skull found on one of the islands. This spectacular mammal is regarded as extinct not only in Corrientes but in all of Argentina. CLT is currently in the preliminary phases of developing a project for the reintroduction of the species in the Iberá.
The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) is a distant relative of pigs that lives in groups of 5 to 15 individuals feeding mainly on plants, although it may also eat worms, insects and small vertebrates. The species was still present in the woods of Iberá towards the middle of the twentieth century. At the present time there are already several groups of this social mammal in the Rincón del Socorro and San Alonso sectors.
When parks can be exhibited in their maximum natural expression, especially with wild fauna that is abundant and easy to see, an ecotourism destination can be generated that promotes a new economy for neighboring communities.
At CLT we work so that the national parks that we help to create will turn into territorial brands that promote an ordered arrival of visitors who will bring new resources to each region. In addition to this, we foster tourism within the parks with the construction of basic infrastructure for public use such as campgrounds, paths, signage or eco-inns.
Iberá es una llanura interminable, donde uno siente que está en un paisaje africano, a la vez que toma un mate y escucha chamamé. Iberá es agua, pastizal sin fin, pequeños bosques y algunos de los mejores atardeceres de la Argentina.
Desde 2005 CLT ha trabajado con los municipios, provincia, nación y la prensa para establecer a Iberá como un destino reconocido nacional e internacionalmente. Para lograr esto fue clave la creación del concepto de Ruta Escénica: un sistema de cerca de mil kilómetros de carreteras preexistentes que rodean todo el Iberá y dan acceso a más de siete municipios a través de portales. Con el fin de promover el uso público y el turismo, CLT ha construido cuatro campings públicos que dan acceso al Parque Iberá.
En el Impenetrable uno se siente como un auténtico explorador, donde la naturaleza explota en miles de formas de vida. Este parque ofrece la posibilidad de observar animales legendarios como el tapir, oso hormiguero, tatú carreta, pecaríes y el elusivo puma.
Durante más de seis años en CLT trabajamos mantenido un campamento estable en la vecindad del Parque Nacional Impenetrable con el fin de poder promover el lugar a viajeros aventureros y los medios de comunicación. Hemos capacitados a pobladores locales para que puedan atender al número creciente de turistas. En breve estaremos construyendo un “glamping” que permita una experiencia cómoda y a la vez auténtica en este paraíso natural.
El Parque Nacional Patagonia se ubica en el auténtico corazón de esta región legendaria. En él se unen Chile y Argentina a través de comunidades hermanadas. En esta región los visitantes pueden disfrutar de caminatas interminables, observar al raro macá tobiano, grandes manadas de guanacos, al misterioso huemul, al majestuoso cóndor andino y a una de las mayores concentraciones de pinturas prehistóricas y petroglifos de Sudamérica, ubicados en la Cueva de las Manos.
Siguiendo el modelo establecido en Iberá, colaboramos con las autoridades y la prensa para promover esta región como uno de los destinos naturales y culturales más completos de la Patagonia. Este destino consta de varios portales que dan acceso a las comunidades locales al Parque.
The "Production of Nature" model corresponds to four areas, the protection of large public territories, the restoration of ecosystems recovering all their original species (rewilding), the restoration of economic activity as the basis of the next economy, and the consolidation of local development. We seek to replace the conditions in rural areas threatened by the increasing exodus to urban areas with a new rural paradigm of local growth with social cohesion: productive areas in the regional economies in which communities and their reorganized interrelationships will allow the application of new strategies as a function of creating inclusive societies.
En el Parque Iberá trabajamos con las comunidades de Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, Concepción de Yaguareté Corá y San Miguel, desarrollando una línea base sobre las necesidades de desarrollo de cada comunidad, creando el tejido social que permita la aparición del liderazgo bottom-up, con énfasis en las mujeres, articulando con los municipios y con los prestadores de servicios locales. En el caso de Carlos Pellegrini hemos coordinado la elaboración de un libro que cuenta los valores culturales y naturales del municipio, junto con una visión de desarrollo claramente conectada con el Parque Iberá.
Alrededor del Parque Nacional Patagonia trabajamos con las comunidades de Los Antiguos y Perito Moreno, promoviendo la cultura local, el desarrollo de artesanías y el comercio local asociados al uso público del Parque, y apoyamos a grupos de ciudadanos en su lucha contra la minería a cielo abierto que dañe los valores de la región.