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The Humid Chaco stretches across the myriad landscapes of southeastern South America, creating a transition zone between the Arid Chaco ecoregion to the west and the humid tropical forests to the east.

Parts of this ecoregion are so thick with vegetation that locals have dubbed it El Impenetrable.

The region encompasses the northern Paraná River and its Flooded Savannas ecoregion and extends north into central Paraguay.

Bogs and other wetlands, grasslands, savannas, and gallery forests come together here in a mosaic of habitats.

The "El Impenetrable" forest.

In this ecoregion, moist and flooded grassy savannas dotted with palm trees and thorny thickets grow alongside gallery forests, which line the numerous riverbanks.

Special Features Special Features.

The great variety in habitat type combines with a humid tropical/subtropical climate to produce a wealth of plants and animals.

This is the southern limit for many tropical species, including certain species of macaws and monkeys.

It remains a haven for wildlife because of its sheer impenetrability by humans.

That is why the sandy soil left after land in the forest is cleared is only good for producing one or two harvests of soy, the star crop that has displaced other crops, like cotton, which used to provide local indigenous people with seasonal employment.
Read also: The loss of biodiversity generates negative consequences for the environmental system.
"But the soil is so poor that only two harvests are possible," the head of Greenpeace Argentina’s forest campaign, Hernán Giardini, told IPS.

Satellite images.

Satellite images show areas that have been turned into desert, as well as slashes in the forest where the trees have been felled for makeshift airstrips, some of which are still littered by the remains of abandoned broken-down aircraft.
The "El Impenetrable" forest, four million hectares in northern Argentina.Click to Tweet
The landing strips are used for smuggling drugs and contraband cigarettes, say local residents.

The destruction of the forest.

The destruction of the forest has not only caused harm to the environment, but to local inhabitants as well, according to both human rights groups and the Chaco provincial government of Jorge Capitanich, who took office in December and has declared a health, food, educational and environmental emergency.

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On the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus, through which the Valdés Peninsula is reached, lies the Isla de los Pájaros Provincial Reserve.

Situated 800 meters from the San José Gulf, this protected area has been created with the aim of sheltering the colonies of sea and shore birds dwelling the island.

The San José Fort, founded by Juan de la Piedra in 1779 and destroyed by the Indians in 1810, used to be nestled in this area.
The Isla de los Pájaros Provincial Reserve.

The Isla de los Pájaros Provincial Reserve.

The quiet waters and the large tides, which present a 12-meter-high difference between the high and the low tide, join the island with solid ground.

When the sea recedes, a narrow passage of sea bed becomes exposed.

Access to the island through this passage was permitted until recently, but at present it may not be used due to the damage caused to the habitat.

The interpretation center has a glass dome with a very powerful telescope that enables visitors to observe the Nuevo and the San José Gulfs, and also offers a wide range of information about the diversity of wildlife in the peninsula.

From this point, a great variety of sea birds that inhabit the islet may be appreciated in the spring and the summer.

In the winter instead, it is usual to see the whales that chose the San José Gulf or the flamingo flocks.
Read also: Cueva de las Manos, a Cultural Heritage Unesco in Santa Cruz province.
The low tide uncovers sandbars that shelter several water species, such as little fish, octopus, crabs, anemones and starfish, as well as countless seaweed. Plenty of bird specimens nestle on the island every year, mainly kelp gulls, cormorants and terns.

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The Isla de los Pájaros Provincial Reserve protects various species of water birds nestling on the Valdés Peninsula all year round.Clic to Tweet

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Los Arrayanes National Park is a national park of Argentina with an area of 17.53 square kilometres. It covers the Quetrihué Peninsula on the shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake in the province of Neuquén, 3 km from Villa la Angostura.

Even though arrayán trees (Luma apiculata) can be seen on the way to the end of the peninsula, the forest of 300 year old arrayanes covers 0.2 km² of the southern point, with individuals of over 600 years. The forest can be reached by boat from different points of the Nahuel Huapi lake, or a 12 km path from the beginning of the park at the port of Villa La Angostura. This path, full of ups and downs, is also popularly done by mountain bike.

Arrayanes National Park.

There are a few pudú and huemul deer, guanacos, monitos de monte and small foxes. Among the birds, condors, eagles, hawks and woodpeckers can be found here.

Even though it was already part of the Nahuel Huapi National Park, Los Arrayanes was created in 1971 to protect its forest of rare arrayán trees. To protect the soil and the roots of these fragile trees, a wooden path has been made for the tourist to enjoy the view of the cinnamon-coloured trees.


The park, which has 1.753 hectares, covers all the Quetrihué Peninsula that is ubicated in the north side of Nahuel Huapi Lake.

In the south side of the Quetrihué Peninsula there is the most singular formation: the purest arrayanes forest, white flowers and cinnamon bark trees with irregular whitish spots.
Los Arrayanes National Park was created in order to preserve a singular forest area composed of arrayanes.Click to Tweet
PN Los Arrayanes (Los Arrayanes National Park) preserves a sample of the patagonic forest eco-region, which has wet and cold warm climate, with winter snowfalls and rains.

During almost all the year there are frosts and strong winds from the West.


This eco-region has high mountains, with glaciery valleys. “Semideciduos” forest, which is high represented in the north but not too much in the southern part, dominates the area and alternates with “turberas” in the southern part.
Read also:The Los Alerces National Park boasts lovely and simultaneously protects forests of ancient larches.

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Finally much later, perhaps some ninety million years ago, the movements geologically known as ‘orogenesis andina’, or mountain formation, actually began.

These movements in turn, produced balancing movements, fractures, folds, landslides, and the ascension and descension of ancient crystal blocks, forming the hills that today surround the region and the most recent layers of sediments.

Wind and water have eroded the sedimentary rocks in the Valley of the Moon.

Sedimentary rock is one of the three main rock groups (along with igneous and metamorphic rocks) and is formed in four main ways: by the deposition of the weathered remains of other rocks (known as 'clastic' sedimentary rocks); by the accumulation and the consolidation of sediments; by the deposition of the results of biogenic activity; and by precipitation from solution.
Read also: The Yacuy Provincial Park is a protected natural area in the province of Misiones. | Argentina Photo Gallery

The Valley of the Moon in Prehistory.

Since the large reptiles had already disappeared in the Holocene era, some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, the valley was populated by pumas, guanacos, Creole hares, and a new type of animal--the birds.

Descendants of the dinosaurs-the most spectacular birds of this valley are the condors and the South American ostrich. On the contrary, of the ‘true reptiles’, only the small lizards and some poisonous snakes (the coral and yarara) remain.

Man arrived here only a few million years ago and decorated the zone with his rock-paintings or petroglyphs and scattered his arrowheads in the area. 

Bear in mind that the first scientists only appeared in the valley in the second half of the last century whereas, approximately one decade ago, the recording of the last mutation of fauna coincided with the arrival of the first tourists, who came to see this mysterious ‘Valley of the Moon’.

The existing infrastructure consists of nothing more than a small house for the park rangers and an onsite museum. 

Travelers may, and it is strongly suggested they bring their own provisions, beverages, sunblock, etc. or whatever they feel necessary.. The tour around the park (40 km). Visitors are accompanied by a park ranger in their own vehicle, in a caravan with other cars, taking about four hours. Travelers can find lodgings in the charming village of San Agustin of Valle´ Fertil, or Pataquia, and Villa Union.

Wind and water have eroded the sedimentary rocks in the Valley of the Moon.Click to Tweet
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The Ventana System (Sierras de la Ventana) is one of two mountain ranges in Buenos Aires Province, and one of the only two located within the Pampas ecosystem.

Bounded approximately by the Laguna de Guaminí at its northwestern end, and the Atlantic Ocean to its southwest, the Ventana System lies on a precambrian base formed around 2.2 billion years ago, and is interspersed with granite, granodiorite, and amphibole deposits.

The Ventana System.

Characterized by its escarpments, this orography prevented the deposit of significant amounts of loess, and make the area the least propicious to agriculture with the pampas; sunflower fields are common along the foot of the range. Its soils feature a A-AC-C horizonation, not unlike those found along the Appalachian range.

Its climate is rather colder and drier than that prevailing in the surrounding Humid Pampas, though the range receives more rainfall than the Semi-arid Pampas, located to the west. Sizable extensions of lacebark pines grow along the range, possibly introduced from Asia.
Read also: The Juan Manuel Fangio Museum is a museum of motor racing cars, located in Balcarce, Buenos Aires Province.

Peppered by caves and grottoes.

Peppered by caves and grottoes, the range is relatively modest in height and extension, and exceeds 1000 m (3280 ft) at only six points. These peaks are:

* Cura Malal Chico (1000 m)
* Cura Malal Grande (1037 m)
* Napostá Grande (1108 m)
* La Ventana (1184 m)
* Destierro Primero (1172 m)
* Tres Picos (1239 m)
The Ventana System lies on a precambrian base formed around 2.2 billion years ago.Click To Tweet

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