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The lands of the Impenetrable

The destiny of the Chaco region was marked from the beginning: Chaco means, in the Quechua language, "place of hunting".
| 28 August, 2018 |

The Chaco region is, perhaps, one of the hardest hit by human activity in our country. Endangered species and devastated forests are the result of decades of neglect and poor management decisions, which today give us a landscape very different from the original.

This region includes the provinces of Formosa and Chaco, the east of Salta, most of Santiago del Estero, the north of Santa Fe and part of Tucumán and Córdoba. It is an extensive wet plain, with abundant swamps and lagoons, with salt flats in the center and southwest of Santiago del Estero. It borders the Pilcomayo River to the north, the Paraguay and Paraná Rivers to the east, the Salado River to the south and the Northwest region of Argentina to the west.

It seems that the destiny of the Chaco region was marked from the beginning: Chaco means, in the Quechua language, “place of hunting”. This is how many of the species that lived in these lands are now extinct, but the reasons for their disappearance are not only found in indiscriminate hunting: the destruction of their habitat also had a great deal to do with it.

Until the 20th century, the Chaco region was covered with dense subtropical forests. However, in the 1970s, the government of the province of Chaco decided to cut down five million hectares of the wild forest known as the Impenetrable, with the aim of converting them into farmland. This project was not completed and the region was razed to the ground and transformed into an almost infertile, thorny chaparral. This panorama worsened since 1990, when much of the natural forest cover in Chaco began to be cleared for soybean cultivation. The massive sowing of this industrial crop contributed to the elimination of biodiversity in the area.

The Impenetrable continues, however, to provide a distinctive framework for this region and is, without a doubt, its hallmark.

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