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El Chaco Biosphere Reserve, Paraguay

This large biosphere reserve contains important National Parks in Paraguay, such as Defensores del Chaco, Médanos del Chaco, Teniente Agripino Enciso and other forms of protected areas such as Cerro Cabrera, Río Negro National Park and the Cañada El Carmen Reserve as well as a single urban centre on the Paraguay River: Bahía Negra.

Designation date: 2005


Regional network:  Red de Comités y Reservas de Biosfera de Iberoamérica y el Caribe (IberoMAB) 

Ecosystem-based network: Rainforest and Wetland




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    • Core area(s): N/A
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

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    Administrative Authorities


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The El Chaco Biosphere Reserve, in Northern Paraguay, features very diverse dry-forest ecosystems, which enhances its great diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles and others. Some of these species are considered threatened, such as the guanaco, jaguar, tapir and the giant armadillo.

    The territory is characterised by similar areas with its Chaco neighbours: the Argentinean Chaco and the Bolivian Chaco, with whom it maintains a fluid exchange.

    Located in the biosphere reserve's core area, the Rio Negro National Park is also a Ramsar Site, declared in 1995.


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    El Chaco Biosphere Reserve stands out for its pluri-culturalism. Indigenous groups from different linguistic families live and work here, such as the Guarani Ñandeva (Guarani linguistic family) and the Ayoreo and Ishir (Zamuco linguistic family), who speak different languages. Among the latter there are groups in voluntary isolation. Other inhabitants are local Creoles and residents commonly referred to as Paraguayans and many foreigners, including Mennonites.

    The economic activity of European descendents and most of the foreigners, as well as the Mennonites, is large-scale agriculture.

    The Biosphere Reserve established a Management Committee in 2018, with the participation of the region's different groups. 


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     Back to World Network of Biosphere Reserves

    Last updated: April 2021