Vina santa cruz

Conservation in Argentina

Vina santa cruz

Argentina is a land of contrasts. Stretching out over a million square miles, the landscape ranges from arid desert to soaring mountains, from lush grasslands to glaciers as big as cities. This diverse array of ecosystems has cultivated countless opportunities for ecotourism, and the country sees tourists arriving by the thousands to marvel at its natural wonders.

Los Glaciares National Park

Argentina is home to 10 UNESCO sites and more than 30 national parks, which typically act as a starting point for most nature lovers visiting the country. In the northern Jujuy province, you can gawp at the multi-colored valley of Quebrada de Humahuaca, which shows evidence of being a trade route over the past 10,000 years. On the coast of Argentina’s central regions, you can see elephant seals, Magellanic penguins and whales breaching the sea at the Valdés Peninsula, one of the country’s best areas for watching wildlife. In the icy south, you’ll find the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most mind-boggling attractions in Los Glaciares National Park.

Argentina is full of iconic ecotourism attractions. But even though they might be mighty, they still come with their fair share of threats. The harsh nature of many of Argentina’s finest landscapes, coupled with an unsustainable approach to managing them, is increasingly damaging these fragile environments. 

Andean Condor ©Claudio Vidal

The Patagonia Grasslands Conservation Project

One of the main focus of conservation in Argentina are the Patagonian grasslands. These arid and semi-arid regions are home to shrubs and grasses, as well as foxes, rhea, the famous Andean condor and lots of other wildlife species. In addition to supporting flora and fauna, the grasslands are vital for conserving the quality of the soil, maintaining fresh water sources and providing erosion control.

The Patagonian climate is very harsh, with little annual rainfall and cold winters. Couple these challenging conditions with damaging factors such as unsustainable grazing practices and incremental explotation of energy resources, the Patagonian grasslands are increasingly suffering from desertification. 


How Conservation Groups Are Helping

Various conservation groups work with wool producers and private landowners to develop and implement more sustainable grazing practices in an attempt to reduce erosion, plus watershed planning to protect the region’s fresh water resources. Groups are also looking at Argentina’s economic growth and helping to improve impact-mitigation practices and regulations to balance these needs with those of the ecosystem. The country has a huge potential for energy development but struggles to offset the negative consequences this has on the environment. Groups are working with locals to mitigate negative impact by developing better practices and including compensations for residual negative impact aiming at developing infrastructure with no net loss of ecosystem services.

This wealth of work shows great promise for the future of Patagonia’s grasslands. The project should be music to the ears of any traveler looking to visit this region and explore its natural beauty. One of the most unique experiences a traveler can have in the Patagonia grasslands is to visit an estancia, or gaucho ranch. These rustic properties give visitors the chance to experience rural Argentine life as it was over a century ago. Here you can sleep under a star-studded sky, mingle with the wildlife, and learn more about traditional gaucho culture. 

King penguin

Travel to Argentina's Natural Wonders

International Expeditions runs a range of tours in Argentina, spanning the country from the waterfalls and rainforests at Iguazu to the Ibera Marshes, and finally down to the Patagonian steppe. Whichever tour you choose, it is impossible not to marvel at Argentina’s wealth of ecotourism offerings. The natural beauty you’ll see all across this vast, diverse landscape is easy to fall in love with. It’s also undeniably worthy of protection via responsibly-managed conservation projects.