Semiarid Pampas Ecoregion (Argentina)

Semiarid Pampas Ecoregion (Argentina)

Sat, 06/08/2019 - 18:11

The Semiarid Pampas ecoregion is located in the center of Argentina. The predominant vegetation consists of grasslands with some shrubs. There are few endemic plants in the ecoregion but the area has a high biodiversity.

The Semiarid Pampas ecoregion is located in the center of Argentina, in the Buenos Aires, Pampa, San Luis, and Cordoba Provinces. Part of the larger Pampas (Las Pampas) lowland plains region, this temperate grassland covers an area of approximately 327,000 sq km (126,000 sq mi). The Humid Pampas grassland lies to the east, while the drier Argentine Espinal (thorny) grassland lies to the west.

The ecoregion consists of grasslands with some shrubs. There are few endemic plants in the ecoregion, but the area has a high biodiversity. Most of the natural vegetation has been replaced by agriculture and cattle ranching. The ecoregion is considered endangered and is regarded as a high priority conservation area at the regional scale.

This region has sandy or sandy loess soils with frequent old and present-day sand dune relief. The rainfall accumulates in extensive lagoons. The climate is dry with annual precipitation averaging around 700 mm. Two main rivers, the Colorado and the Salado traverse the ecoregion.

The predominant vegetation is steppe grass, which forms thick mats in the grasslands. These areas dry out during the dry season and during the cold season, leaving a renewed layer of soil protected by the detritus of the same plants.

The vegetative species present in this region are Poa ligularis, Stipa tenuissima, Stipa tricótoma, Stipa filiculmis (flechilla or pasto puna), Panicum urvilleanum, Elionurus muticus, Sorghastrum pellitum, Eragrostis lugens, Bromus brevis, Chloris retusa and other. Shrub species are beginning to show more frequently including Discaria longispina, Baccharis articulata (carquejilla), Geoffroea decorticans (chañar), Prosopis caldenia (caldén) and others.

In this ecoregion there are various marshes that are considered unique habitats.The fauna in this ecoregion is also found in the Humid Pampas ecoregion.

Some of the common animals include the pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus celer), the puma (Felis concolor), Geoffroy’s cat (Felis geoffroyi), pampa fox (Dusicyon gymnocercus) and the zorrino común (Conepatus chinga). Other mammals in the area are the vizcachas (Lagostomus maximus), the cuis pampeano (Cavia aperea), the nutria (Myocastur coypus), and the opossum (Didelphis albiventris).