Humid Pampas Ecoregion (Argentina)
The humid pampas occupy the plains in the east of Argentina. They are one of the highest human-populated areas in Argentina, taking up most of the province of Buenos Aires. Horizontal plains and very soft undulations with low peaks characterize the relief of this area.
The humid pampas ecoregion occupies the plains in the east of Argentina, taking up most of the province of Buenos Aires. This is also one of the highest human-populated areas in the country. The natural vegetation in the area is composed of grasslands and xeric woodland.
Part of the larger Pampas (Las Pampas) lowland plains region, horizontal plains and very soft undulations with low peaks that emerge like islands characterize the relief of this area. In addition, there are a few slow-moving, undulating rivers and many lagoons with fresh and salt water.
The humid pampa is characterized by medium-height grassland, with perennial and annual grasses with scattered herbs and shrubs. The grasslands are interspersed with dry woodland areas, freshwater and saltwater wetlands, and lagoons. The Semiarid Pampas ecoregion lies to the west of this region.
The ecoregion is considered endangered and is regarded as a high-priority conservation area at the regional scale. Little is left of the natural habitat in the Humid Pampas.
Little is left of the natural habitat in the humid pampas. This is one of Argentina's most heavily populated areas, extensively used for agriculture and cattle grazing. As a result, various endemic animals are threatened by habitat destruction and degradation.
The climate is hot, with rain throughout the year. The climatic conditions, combined with the sedimentary materials' geochemical characteristics and the pasture's vegetative cycles, like grasslands, have favored the development of soils with high organic and nutrient content. These characteristics make the soil excellent for vegetative growth.
This area's original vegetation is moderate grassland dominated by flechillar, highly eatable food for grazers. The dominant grasses are Stipa, Piptochaetium, Aristida, melica, Briza, Bromus, Eragrostis and Poa.
Among the grasses are many annuals such as Micropsis, Berroa, Gamochaeta, Chaptalia, Aster, Chevreulia, Vicia, Oxalis, Adesmia and Daucus. Common sufrutices and shrubs include Margyricarpus, Heimia, Baccharis, and Eupatorium.
Numerous endemics include the bird species curve-billed reedhaunter (Limnornis curvirostris) and Olrog's gull (Larus atlanticus), and a snake species (Liophis elegantísima).
Species in danger of extinction include the pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus celer), a very important herbivore in this area, as well as the bird species loica pampeana (Sturnella defilippi), Hudsonian godwit (Limosa haemastica), ruddy-headed goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps), dot-winged crake (Laterallus spilopterus) and speckled crake (Coturnicops notata).
Among the fauna are herbivores such as the pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus celer) and the guanaco (Lama guanicoe). Carnivores include the puma (Felis concolor), Geoffroy's cat (Felis geoffroyi), pampa fox (Dusicyon gymnocercus), zorrino común or hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus chinga) and grison (Galictis cuja).
Other mammals in the area are the vizcachas (Lagostomus maximus), the cuis pampeano (Cavia aperea), the nutria (Myocastur coypus), and the opossum (Didelphis albiventris).
The marshlands of the Humid Pampas ecoregion are important conservation centers for birds that migrate from the Northern Hemisphere to Patagonia.
The region has two severe threats: the conversion of remaining natural habitats for agriculture and degradation through livestock overgrazing. Burning and draining of lands also threaten remaining habitats.
Map depicting the location of the humid pampas (in purple)