Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve (Argentina)

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Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve (Argentina)

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 17:31
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The Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve consists of the 'Parque Atlántico Mar Chiquita,' situated in the Chaco savanna region just north of Mar de Plata on the Atlantic coast of Argentina. The delta marshes are extremely important for a large variety of waterfowl.

Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve

The Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve consists of the 'Parque Atlántico Mar Chiquita,' situated in the Chaco savanna region just north of Mar de Plata on the Atlantic coast in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.

A great diversity of habitats characterizes the Biosphere Reserve and its surrounding areas in a relatively small area, most of which are representative of the Pampas plains.

The total area (including core, transition and buffer areas) of the Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve is 27,675 ha (68,386 acres). It contains a large permanent, hyper-saline lake, up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, with some small islands and brackish marshes at the mouth of the rivers which flow into the lake.

The delta marshes of the Segundo River are particularly extensive. Consequently, the lake level rises considerably during exceptional flooding, and salinity decreases.

Most of the lake lacks vegetation, but there are marshes of Typha spp. and Scirpus spp.; and riverine thickets of Tamarix galica. The surrounding vegetation consists of open savannas, with undergrowth of cacti (Opuntia spp.) and Cereus spp.

The delta marshes are vital for a large variety of waterfowl. Peak counts of birds have included 5,000 - 6,000 Chilean flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis), 250,000 brown-headed gulls (Larus maculipennis), and 500,000 Wilson's phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor).

The lake is of considerable interest for coastal species that occur in small numbers while migrating, such as red knot (Calidris canutus) and common tern (Sterna hirundo).

Mar Chiquita is a small seaside village made up of family groups. More than 400 people live in the Biosphere Reserve, engaged in cattle raising and agriculture, commerce and tourism. 

The rationale of the Mar Chiquita Biosphere Reserve is to conserve the natural conditions which make this area attractive for tourism, with associated economic benefits from artisanal fishing, organic agriculture and local craftwork.