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Posts tagged Río de la Plata Basin

Issues Affecting the Río de la Plata Basin

34.6S 58.3W

May 5th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Rivers

Argentina – May 4th, 2013

The Río de la Plata Basin, with a surface area of over 3,200,000 km2 is the second largest drainage basin in South America and the fourth largest in the world. It covers the whole of Paraguay as well as considerable parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay, including within its central plain the most extensive corridor of fluvial wetlands on the planet, as well as some of the most densely inhabited mega-cities in South America and in the world.

The ecosystems in the region, and its wetlands in particular, are significant examples of the abundance, variety and quality of natural resources, which facilitate the production of a large number of environmental goods and services of great economic and ecological importance.

The natural resources of the Río de la Plata Basin and the associated goods and services are threatened by factors such as the fragmentation of natural ecosystems, the expansion of agricultural borders, large-scale livestock rearing, major infrastructure projects, urban development and pollution, which not only affect the wetlands and biodiversity but also the local communities that depend on these resources, not to mention food safety and the global climate.

Unsustainable production is affecting the traditional production models in the region, increasing the impact of drought and flooding, and reducing the capacity for adaptation to climate change, which has a negative impact on the welfare of local populations, creating conditions that give rise to migration to large cities and increasing
poverty (click here for more information).

Agriculture in the Chaco Boreal, Paraguay

22.3S 60W

February 5th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

Paraguay - January 25th, 2010

Paraguay - January 25th, 2010

The Gran Chaco is a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region of the Río de la Plata basin, divided between eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, where it is connected with the Pantanal region. This land is sometimes called the Chaco Plain.

Historically the Chaco has been divided in three main parts: the Chaco Austral or Southern Chaco, inside Argentinian territory; the Chaco Central or Central Chaco, also now in Argentinian territory; and the Chaco Boreal or Northern Chaco, inside Paraguayan territory and sharing some area with Bolivia.

This image focuses on the Chaco Boreal in Paraguay. The area in the center appears tan due to agricultural fields, many of which are near mennonite colonies. Inside Paraguay, people sometimes use the expression Central Chaco to refer to this area, located roughly in the middle of the Chaco Boreal, where such mennonite colonies are established.

The Chaco offers high soil fertility and a topography that is favorable for agricultural development, but in combination with aspects that are challenging for farming: a semi-arid to semi-humid climate (600–1300 mm annual rainfall) with a six-month dry season and sufficient fresh groundwater available only in roughly one third of the region, the remainig aquifers been too salty.

Altiplano, Mountains and Chaco in South America

19.8S 63.9W

August 1st, 2009 Category: Rivers

Bolivia - June 29th, 2009

Bolivia - June 29th, 2009

Most of the visible terrain on both sides of the Andes Mountains in this images belongs to Bolivia, while much of the cloud-covered area is part of Paraguay and some of the lower left quadrant is part of Argentina.

To the east of the Andes is a region known as the Gran Chaco, a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region of the Río de la Plata basin. To the west lies the Bolivian Altiplano, an area of inland drainage (endorheism) with an average height of about 3,300 meters (11,000 feet).

Several rivers flow down from the mountains, across the green Bolivian terrain: the first three, from top to bottom, are the Rio Grande (also called the Guapay), Parapeti River and Pilcomayo River. All of these are golden brown in color from the load of sediments they are carrying.

Deforestation in Bolivia’s Gran Chaco – March 19th, 2009

March 19th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Bolivia - March 16th, 2009

Bolivia - March 16th, 2009

Close-up1

Close-up1

The Gran Chaco, is a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region, of the Río de la Plata basin, divided between eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and a portion of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. This land is sometimes called the Chaco Plain.

The ecosystems of the Gran Chaco are unique, and were little understood by scientists until recent years. These ecosystems are slowly being destroyed by civilization with the introduction of cattle, burning of vegetation and irresponsible agricultural decisions.

The first close-up shows deforestation in progress, which can be identified as lighter green trails through the green forest. The second close-up shows fields that have already been planted after the area was deforested, near rivers carrying brown sediments.

Close-up2

Close-up2

The area close to the mountains in the west (visible in the lower left quadrant of the main image) is called the Alto Chaco, or Dry Chaco. It is very dry and sparsely vegetated, continuing eastward to the Chaco Boreal where less arid conditions combined with favorable soil characteristics permit a higher growth thorntree seasonably dry forest.

Even further to the East, higher rainfall combined with improperly drained lowland soils lead to the Bajo Chaco, or Humid Chaco, a more open savanna vegetation. This consists of palm trees, quebracho trees and tropical high grass fractions with a wealth of insects.

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