The Ñacuñan Biosphere Reserve is located in the Argentine Province of Mendoza, in the plains at the foot of the Andes. The area consists of semi-arid upland grasslands, shrubby steppe and matorral, as well as shrubby and herbaceous woodlands and wetlands.
Ñacuñan Biosphere Reserve
The area consists of semi-arid upland grasslands, shrubby steppe and matorral, as well as shrubby and herbaceous woodlands and wetlands 540 m (1,770 ft) above sea level with three distinct geomorphological units (features).
Located in the western plains of Mendoza, Ñacuñan was initially created as a provincial reserve to protect the forests of Prosopis flexuosa. The tree has always been central to the natives of the region, in particular due to the use of its wood.
The forests of Prosopis flexuosa survived timber exploitation in the 1930's. However, timber and hunting still constitute the main threats that the Biosphere Reserve is facing today.
This tree can be mainly found in the so-called gently rolling plains, along with Atriplex lamba bushes, while the depressions are mostly taken up by Larrea cuneifolia and false Rhodes grass (Trichloris crinite). There is also a good number of tallow wood forests (Ximenia Americana).
Mammals such as the grey fox (Dusicyon griseus), puma (Felis concolor), and guanaco (Lama guanicoe), birds such as rhea (Rhea americana), martineta (Eudromia elegans) as well as reptiles such as tortoise (Geochelone chilensis) and Boa constrictor are found in the reserve.
A site of particular historic interest is 'La Carbonera' which contains relicts of Propopis wood transformed into charcoal and some pottery and metal utensils, left by the ancient human settlements.
More than 80 inhabitants of the indigenous community live in the Ñacuñan village in the transition area (1999). Many activities such as education and public information, training courses, workshops and research activities have been carried out in the Biosphere Reserve, to the benefit of the local population.
Management practices are oriented towards conservation, research and environmental education. Recent work in the Ñacuñan Biosphere Reserve concern the impact of seed-eating birds on soil-seed reserves in the Monte desert.