Argentina names southernmost Ramsar site
The government of Argentina has designated a beautiful and valuable new Wetland of International Importance in the province of Tierra del Fuego, one which at the time of listing becomes the Convention’s southernmost site. As summarized by Nadia Castro from data supplied with the designation letter, Glaciar Vinciguerra y turberas asociadas(2,760 hectares, 54º45’S 068º20’W) includes glaciers; lakes; Sphagnum-, Cyperacea-, and tree-dominated peatlands; Nothofagus (Southern beech) forests; and permanent and seasonal rivers, at an altitude between 200 and 1300 m. Among the flora, Skottsbergia paradoxa, an endemic and threatened moss species, stands out. The glaciers and peatlands, excellent natural water reservoirs, play an important role in the “Arroyo Grande” watershed regulation, a river that is the primary water source of the city of Ushuaia.
The presence of the Vinciguerra glacier and the Andorra valley’s peatlands contribute to the scenic beauty of the site, which attracts local and foreign tourists. The threats to the site are horse rearing (animals feed on Nothofagus sprouts), tree cutting for domestic use, and, to a lesser extent, peat extraction. Additionally, climate change affects Vinciguerra glacier stability. The site acts as a buffer area between the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the suburban expansion of Ushuaia. Ramsar site no. 1886. Most recent RIS information: 2009.
Photos by Rodolfo Iturraspe.