San Guillermo

The San Guillermo Biosphere Reserve in the northwest of San Juan province represents the mixed mountain and highland systems in the foothills and mountains of the Andes occupying the west sector of Catamarca, La Rioja, San Juan and Mendoza Provinces.

Declaration date: 1980
Surface area: 981,460 ha
Administrative division: Buffer and Transition zones fall within the San Guillermo Provincial Reserve. The San Guillermo National Park corresponds
to the Core zone.

Human Activities

These are related with mining (in the transition zone), animal husbandry, scientific research and incipient tourism throughout the area.

Ecological Characteristics

Three eco-regions are present in the San Guillermo Biosphere Reserve: High Andean, Puna and Woodland (Monte). The convergence of these three eco-regions gives the area its special features, creating a singular mosaic of
deserts and high altitude grasslands exposed to low temperatures, with low valleys characterised by a flora including thorny bushes and a somewhat warmer climate. This cold desert is the Vicuña’s most southerly range.

Conservation values to be considered are:

  • Water: presence of the main watershed headwaters in the north of San Juan and humid habitats (vegas) that are essential for the development of biodiversity.
  • It hosts the largest populations of Vicuña and Guanaco in Argentina, with both populations on the increase.In the future their fibres could be exploited by the local communities.
  • It hosts endemic species of flora and fauna and unexplored sites where scientific finds are very probable.
  • It is the largest arid ecosystem in South America, with a complete ensemble of native fauna.
  • It contains an important archaeological heritage.
  • It has highly valuable landscapes, fauna and flora from the standpoint of tourism.
  • It contains endangered species, some of which are of importance for tourism and scientific purposes.

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                                                                                             Last update: November 2013

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