Argentina: Natural Landscape

Argentina: Natural Landscape

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 17:05
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Argentina is the second largest country in South America after Brazil and the eighth largest country in the world. With the Andes forming its western border with Chile, the country's varied geography can be grouped into four geographic regions or sectors and seven natural regions or ecosystems.

The Natural Landscape of Argentina

Argentina, covering much of the Southern Cone of South America, is bounded by Chile to the south and west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, and Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

The Andes Mountains form the country's western border with Chile, extending approximately 5,300 km (3,300 mi), the longest international border in South America. Its Atlantic coastline stretches about 4,700 km (2,900 mi) in the east.

Argentina is the second largest country in South America after Brazil and the eighth largest country globally. The country's varied geography can be grouped into four geographic regions or sectors and seven natural regions or ecosystems.


Argentina is a biodiverse country, home to various plants and animals. According to the Global Biodiversity Index, it is the 21st most biodiverse country in the world, with 1,001 species of birds, 174 amphibian species, 1,026 species of fish, 390 species of mammals, 462 species of reptiles, and 10,221 species of vascular plants.


The country possesses various climatic regions, ranging from subtropical in the north to subantarctic in the far south. Lying between those is the Pampas region, which features a mild and humid climate. However, many areas have different, often contrasting, microclimates.

Map depicting the countries on the continent of South America

Map depicting the countries on the continent of South America

Natural Geography of Argentina

Geographic Regions


  • the Andes Mountains in the west have the highest elevations and are mostly arid


  • the Puna plateau in the northwest is high and dry, with a cold climate

  • the Chaco plains in the north-central have a dry subtropical climate

  • Mesopotamia in the northeast, which includes the Missionary Jungle, has a humid subtropical climate


  • Cuyo in the central-west is semi-arid with a temperate climate

  • Sierras Pampeanas, or Central Sierras, is a chain of mountains that rise sharply from the surrounding Pampas region

  • the Pampas in the central and central-east are semi-arid in the western limits and humid in the east, with a mild climate


Geographical regions of Argentina

Map depicting the geographical regions of Argentina

Natural Regions


    The Andes Mountains extend along the country's western edge and form most of the boundary with Chile. It is commonly subdivided into the Fuegian Andes and the Patagonian Andes.

    The highest elevations are located in the north-central part of the range and include Mount Aconcagua, which, at 6,962 m (22,840 ft) above sea level, is the highest peak in the Americas.

    The Andes are generally arid mountains, except in the eastern part of the northern sector, where mountain jungle can be found, and in Patagonia, where there is a cold rainforest.

    Provinces considered part of the Andes region of Argentina include Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, and Salta.

    Protected areas within the Andes natural region include:


    The northern sector's Puna plateau is high, dry, and cold. It is located in the rain shadow of the central AndesPuna grasslands occur at 3,000 - 5,000 m (9,850 - 16,400 ft), above the tree line but below the permanent snow line.

    This high-elevation grassland region belongs to the montane grasslands and shrublands biome, as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

    The Puna region covers the western part of the country. It includes parts of several provinces: Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca, La Rioja, and San Juan, with Jujuy and Salta being the most significant.

    Calilegua National Park is located in the Puna region.


    The country's north is commonly described in terms of its two main divisions: the Chaco, comprising the dry lowlands between the Andes and the Paraná River, and Mesopotamia, an area between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.

    The Chaco region is characterized by its flat and fertile plains, dominated by dense subtropical forests and savannah grasslands.

    The region's climate is subtropical, with hot summers and mild winters, and is subject to periodic droughts and floods.

    The Chaco region is primarily composed of the provinces of Chaco and Formosa. However, depending on the definition, it can also include parts of other provinces, such as Santiago del Estero, Salta, and Jujuy.

    Protected areas within the Chaco region include:


    In the country's northeastern corner and composed of the Paraná and Uruguay river basins, Mesopotamia (the land between rivers) features the dense Missionary Jungle.

    The Mesopotamia region includes the provinces of Misiones, Entre Rios, and Corrientes. The climate is subtropical without a dry season, and the topography consists of plateaus.

    Protected areas in the Mesopotamia region include:


    Cuyo is a historical wine-producing region in central-west Argentina's mountainous area. This region receives the least rainfall and contains a long strip of semi-arid wooded vegetation known as the "woodlands."

    This region also features the Sierras Pampeanas (or Central Sierras), a chain of mountains that rise sharply from the northwest of the adjacent Pampas region. The hills run parallel to the Andes and cross into seven Argentine provinces.

    The Cuyo region includes the provinces of San Juan, Mendoza, and San Luis.

    Protected areas in the Cuyo region include:


    The Pampas plains, highly degraded grasslands with a temperate climate, run along the country's east-central part.

    These grasslands, used extensively for agriculture and cattle ranching, are divided into arid western and humid eastern parts called the Dry Pampa and the Humid Pampa.

    The Pampas region includes the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and La Pampa.


    In the south is the Patagonian plateau. Covered by steppes, this vast region extends south from the Pampas to Tierra del Fuego.

    The climate of Patagonia is generally dry and windy, with cold temperatures throughout the year. However, there are variations in the environment across the region due to its vast size and diverse geography.

    Patagonia is known for its rugged and diverse landscape, which includes the Andes Mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, grasslands, and deserts. The region is also home to a wide variety of wildlife.

    The region covers approximately one-third of the country's total land area and includes the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego.

    Protected areas within the Patagonia region include:

    Topographical map of Argentina

    Topographical map of Argentina

    Administrative Divisions

    See: Cultural Landscape of Argentina

    Bodies of Water

    The water bodies of Argentina include many lakes, rivers, and lagoons. Most rivers that crisscross the country originate in the Andes range and eventually empty into the Atlantic Ocean. Gulfs and bays pocket the coasts, while lakes and lagoons dot the countryside and fill mountaintop craters.

    See: Water Bodies of Argentina

    Ecological Regions

    The following is a list of terrestrial ecoregions in Argentina, as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

    Argentina is in the Neotropical realm. Ecoregions are classified by biome type - the major global plant communities determined by rainfall and climate.

    Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests

    Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands

    Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests

    Montane grasslands and shrublands

    Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands

    • Arid Chaco

    • Córdoba montane savanna

    • Humid Chaco

    Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests

    Flooded grasslands and savannas

    • Paraná flooded savanna

    • Southern Cone Mesopotamian savanna

    Argentina physiographic map

    Argentina physiographic map