The Lauca Biosphere Reserve is situated in the Puna biogeographic region, in the northern part of Chile in the Andean Chain.

Declaration Date: 1981
Surface Area: 358,312 ha
Administrative Division: Arica and Parinacota Region, Province of Putre

Human Activities

Livestock raising of domestic camelids (Llamas and Alpacas),obtaining meat and wool for marketing and domesticconsumption for the indigenous Aymara communities.

Ecological Characteristics

The following plant formations are to be found:

  • Low "Tolar" scrubland: characterized by shrub-likeplants with resinous leaves and branches, with stunted growth forming relatively dense scrubland with dominant trees reaching up to one metre high.
  • High "Queñoal" scrubland: small trees of up to 5 mhigh, growing on the slopes of the mountain ranges;
  • Humid "Bofedal" steppe: this comprises the vegetation above 4,000 m above sea level where running water exists. It includes the association of Oxychloeandina characterized by its marshy cushion form.
  • Pulvinate plants: at altitudes of 3,800 m above sea level and above, includes the association of laretia compacta - parastrephia quadrangularis. Its mainspecies, "Laretia", grows in a very compact cushion, and may measure up to 2 m diameter and one metrehigh.

One of the most important habitats are the “Bofedales” or highland wetlands as they are a source of food and water for both wild and domestic fauna.

The native fauna is a very important resource making it attractive both ecologically and as a landscape. There is a great variety of birdlife, close to 150 species, that is to say about 30% of the total number of species in this group in the country.

Protection Classification

Lauca National Park
Las Vicuñas National Reserve

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