Patagonian Desert and Patagonian Steppe Ecoregion (South America)

Patagonian Desert and Patagonian Steppe Ecoregion (South America)

Tue, 10/23/2018 - 15:17
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The Patagonian steppe ecoregion, also known as the Patagonian Desert, mainly covers the Patagonia region of Argentina from the Atlantic Ocean to barely across the border into Chile. The topography includes low-lying mountains, plateaus and plains.

The Patagonian steppe ecoregion, also known as the Patagonian Desert or Magellanic Steppe, mainly covers the Patagonia region of Argentina from the Atlantic Ocean shore to barely across the border into Chile. The Peninsula Valdés is an outlier of this ecoregion, lying slightly north of the main body.

The topography of this ecoregion includes low-lying mountains, plateaus and plains. Soils are variable but generally rocky-sandy and poor in fine materials and organic matter.

The climate is very dry and cold with snow during the winter and frosts nearly year-round. A characteristic of the Patagonian climate is the constant drying wind that blows with great force from the western sector, particularly in the summer months.

In general, the vegetation of this steppe ecoregion is xerophytic and highly adapted for protection against drought, wind and herbivores. There are three main types of vegetative communities. The most densely covered is semi-desert (45%), shrub-steppe (30%) and grass-steppe (20%). Desert-like areas also exist with little to no vegetative cover as well as wet meadow areas which have close to 100% cover.