The Corbalán Natural Reserve is part of the “Gran Chaco” – the largest dry forest in South America, spanning a quarter-million square miles, distributed between Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. It encompasses 50 different endemic ecosystems, all of which adapted to grow under arid conditions.
The area of Chaco located in Bolivia, has remained largely untouched. This is where Corbalán is located.
What it lacks in terms of lush greenery (often going unnoticed when compared with its flashier sibling, the Amazon), it makes up for by its exceedingly complex species of flora and fauna.
We have three primary areas of focus:
There have been 186 amphibious species and 297 reptilian species identified—at least 60 known species of snakes, including many pit vipers and constrictors, and six different species of poisonous tree toads. The streams are host to more than 400 fish species, among which are the salmon-like dorado and the flesh-eating piranha.
Primary threats affecting ecosystem stability of Corbalán (like the rest of Chaco) includes: deforestation of native forests, overdependence on livestock production, overgrazing, fires, unsustainable management of water resources, loss of biodiversity and climate change.
The vegetation is called quebrachales, and consists of vast, low hardwood forests where various species of quebracho tree are dominant and economically important as sources of tannin and lumber.
Willdlife includes tapirs, peccaries, giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), acharatas (Ortalis canicollis), giant armadillos (Priodontes maximus), the, the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the palustrian deer, the guanaco (a camelid related to the llama) and jaguars. There are 3,400 plant species (400 are endemic), 150 mammal species (12 of which are endemic), almost 500 species of birds. In fact it is one of the last major refuges for the rhea (or nandu), a large, flightless South American bird.
It is the most deforested areas on the planet.
Every month, an area twice the size of Buenos Aires is cut down.
Our work with PROMETA involves strengthening of Corbalan conservation area as a biological corridor and contributing to recovery of ecosystem functions, namely soil fertility, availability of water resources, CO2 balance, habitats and ultimately the recovery of ecosystem resilience.
Most importantly for the inhabitants of the Gran Chaco, achievement of environmental benefits will contribute to reduce poverty and improved livelihoods