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Laguna Oca y Herraduras del Río Paraguay Biosphere Reserve, Argentina

The Laguna Oca del Río Paraguay Biosphere Reserve is located in Formosa Province in northern Argentina. The natural vegetation of the reserve comprises gallery forests, wetlands and savannas along the meanders and oxbow lakes of the Paraguay River. The gallery forests are densely structured presenting a high biodiversity with abundant epiphytes, lianas and orchids.

Designation date: 2000


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

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 63,029.46 ha

    • Core area(s): 1,280.7 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): 11,589.41 ha
    • Transition zone(s): 40,564.24 ha 

    Location: 26º 14´ 47.66” S   58º 8´ 7.42” W

    Administrative Authorities

    Arq. Susana de Fátima Fourçans
    Directora de Coordinación Técnica Científica RBL
    Napoleón Uriburu 890 (Altos)
    Formosa 3600

    Tel.: (54) 370 - 4436698


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    Ecological Characteristics

    The Laguna Oca del Río Paraguay Biosphere Reserve is located on the flood plain of the aforementioned river, including a portion of the Chaco plains.

    The most important woody species are species of the genus Prosopis like the white carob tree (Prosopis alba), the black carob tree (Prosopis nigra) and espinillo (Prosopis affinis); species of the genus Tabebuia like the palo cruz (Tabebuia nodosa) and in smaller quantity the paratodo (Tanebuia aurea), tatané (Chloroleucon tenuiflorum), quebrachillo (Aspidosperma triternatum). There are also specimens of the Caranday palm (Copernicia alba) in a dispersed form. Among the bush species, the churqui (Acacia caven) and the aromito (Acacia Aroma) are worth mentioning. Among the herbaceous species are those of the Poaceae family, the most important of which are: espartillo (Elionurus muticus), paja boba (Paspalum intermedum) and paja brava (Panicum prionitis). Near Payaguá Island and Laguna Verde, almost pure manduvira (Cynometra bauhiniaefolia) forests have been found, with specimens that showed good conformation, and good regeneration has been observed in those environments.

    Probably the largest number of species corresponds to the group of insects, among which ants stand out as the main biomass of primary consumers in the region. Among the vertebrates, there are more than fifty species of fish, forty of amphibians, fifty of reptiles, three hundred of birds and seventy of mammals  Within the group of reptiles and amphibians, the following species stand out, among others: black caiman (Caiman yacare), yacaré overo (Caiman latirostris), false chameleon (Polychrus acutirostris), cururú toad (Rhinella schneideri), Chaco climbing frog (Hypsiboas raniceps), Chaco snout frog (Scinax acuminatus), spotted-breasted frog (Scinax nasicus), dwarf climbing frog (Dendropsophus nanus), Chaco frog (Leptodactylus chaquensis), Chaco toad (Melanophryniscus klappenbachi), sheep iguana (Tupinambis merianae), large yarara (Bothrops alternatus).


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    In the past few years, the biosphere reserve has worked on the development of productive micro-enterprises for the conservationist use of genetic resources. In this framework, the proposed activities include: semi-intensive horticulture, nurseries, floriculture, worm culture, breeding of large and small livestock, beekeeping, crafts in red ceramics and vegetable fibers, wild animal breeding: yacaré, capybara, otter, aquaculture, heliciculture (snail breeding), raniculture (breeding of edible frogs and for tanning their hides).

    The Transition Zones include the City of Formosa, Herradura and Mission Laishi where most of the economic, social, cultural and sports activities as well as the residential ones are developed. The integration of the localities with the river environment generates a series of opportunities for the population of Formosa, both in relation to recreational use and environmental education. 


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    Last updated: May 2020