Itaipu Biosphere Reserve (Paraguay)

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Itaipu Biosphere Reserve (Paraguay)

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:42
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The Itaipu Biosphere Reserve covers an area of over 1,000,000 ha (or almost 2,500,000 acres) in eastern Paraguay. It comprises an area of semi-deciduous sub-tropical forest, also known as the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest.

Itaipu Biosphere Reserve

The Itaipu Biosphere Reserve covers an area of over 1,000,000 ha (2,500,000 acres) in eastern Paraguay. It comprises an area of semi-deciduous sub-tropical forest, also known as the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest.

This forest forms part of the Global 200 list of ecoregions identified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global conservation organization, as priorities for conservation.

The total surface area of the Biosphere Reserve is 1,047,438 ha (2,588,275 acres), divided into the following zones:

  • Core area(s): 36,595 ha (90,428 acres)
  • Buffer zone(s): 29,964 ha (74,042 acres)
  • Transition zone(s): 980,878 ha (2,423,802 acres)

The Itaipu Binacional manages the Itaipu Biosphere Reserve. Paraguay and Brazil created this bi-national entity to manage the Itaipu Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay.

The Itaipu Binacional has some programs designed to protect the Reserve, including environmental education, sustainable land use, and biodiversity conservation.

Biodiversity

The Itaipu Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important ecosystems for conserving biological diversity on a global scale because of the large number of endemic species, the richness of species, and the original cover, which is scarce following the accelerated destruction of the habitat for agricultural purposes.

The Upper Parana Atlantic Forest is home to vertebrates including large predators such as harpies (Arpyha arpyja), crested eagles, jaguars (Felis concolor), pumas (Pantera onca), and large herbivores such as tapirs (Hydrochaeris hydrocheris), species of deer (Mazama sp), and two species of peccaries (Tayasu sp.).

Socio-Economic

The permanent population is over 450,000 people and may double during high season. It consists of indigenous communities and Paraguayan and 'brasiguayos' settlers (Paraguayan descendants of Brazilians who immigrated in the last decades of the twentieth century).

This mixture of cultures sharing the same territory has created an interesting environment for managing conservation works and sustainable development due to the diverse forms of productive activity, architecture, customs, and gastronomy.

These cultures also speak various languages, including Castellano, Guaraní and Portuguese), and a particular mixture of Guaraní and Castellano known as 'Jopara' (sometimes associated with Portuguese in this border area).