El Impenetrable National Park (Argentina)

El Impenetrable National Park (Argentina)

Tue, 06/01/2021 - 14:54
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El Impenetrable National Park is located in northern Argentina's Chaco Province which lies within the vast lowland plain known as the Gran Chaco. It is situated in the center of the area known as the "Impenetrable Region" due to its dense woodlands and limited waterways.

El Impenetrable National Park

El Impenetrable National Park is located in northern Argentina's Chaco Province which lies within the vast lowland plain known as the Gran Chaco. Covering approximately 128,900 ha (318,000 acres), it is situated in the center of the area known as the "Impenetrable Region" or El Impenetrable due to its dense woodlands and limited waterways.

The Gran Chaco ecoregion stretches across parts of three countries (Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina) and is the third most expansive intact forest in South America, after the Amazon and Cerrado.

El Impenetrable was established in 2014 on the lands of a former ranch, the Estancia La Fidelidad. In 2011, upon the death of the last owner of the ranch, environmental organizations and the National Parks Administration proposed the creation of a national park. The province of Chaco then took the necessary administrative and legislative actions to support establishment of El Impenetrable. It was opened to visitors in 2017 and is recognized as the largest national park in northern Argentina.

The key to the area's biodiversity include the presence of diverse environments that include upland woodlands of quebrachos, groups of locust trees, riparian forests, palm forests, cardón cacti forests, grasslands and even one of the last wetlands of the region. The Teuco River, with its regular flooding and year-round flow, plays a leading role in shaping the various natural communities and supporting wildlife populations during the dry season.

Endemic species in this area (animals and plants that are only found in this region) include the pichiciego, piche islero, Chacoan mara, Chacoan peccary, Quebracho crested tinamou, and even a tree species, the Argentine lignum vitae.

The park also provides habitat for populations of large mammals such as the puma, maned wolf, giant armadillo, tapir, giant anteater as well as three species of peccaries. Hundreds of bird species occupy the native forest including the crowned eagle, jabiru, blue-fronted amazon, black-bodied woodpecker, Chaco chachalaca, skimmer and rufous-fronted thornbird.

El Impenetrable National Park contains diverse vegetation which includes quebracho santiagueño, white quebracho, locust tree, Schinus molle, guaiacum, Sideroxylon obtusifolium or guaraniná, yuchan, Pisonia ambigua or zapallo caspi, mistol, vinal, Prosopis kuntzei or itín, porotillo and garabato, among many other species. It also hosts a large area of Bulnesia sarmientoi forest, an endemic species of the dry Chaco biome, well-known for the quality of its wood.