Istitutional

The Southern Cone of South America is home to the unique natural grasslands of the Pampa biome that stretches across Uruguay and into Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

The introduction of cattle in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries began a sustained change to the biodiversity of grasslands. Once roaming in their millions, Pampas deer populations were now missing from large areas of the region and through overgrazing the depletion of grasslands meant the loss of habitat for many species of birds.

More intensive production, like agriculture and forestry, has caused even greater destruction of natural grasslands. This change in land use has increased significantly in recent years with the rise in value of agricultural products, led by soybeans and corn, and afforestation, mainly with eucalyptus and pine trees. It is estimated that one million hectares annually are transferred from ranching to more intensive production, at the expense of natural grasslands in the Southern Cone.

The natural grasslands are home to 540 species of birds, 12 of which are globally threatened. Among these are species are migratory birds that make their annual journey from the North American prairies to winter in the pampas grasslands of South America.

 

Recognizing the global importance of conserving natural grasslands for biodiversity, BirdLife International with its partners in the Americas decided that they must do more to promote conservation action in the Southern Cone.

In 2006, they launched the first South American regional initiative for the conservation of natural grasslands: the “Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance”, led by BirdLife International and executed through local partners Aves Argentina, Guyra Paraguay, SAVE Brasil and Aves Uruguay.

The central objective of the Alliance is to promote the conservation of grasslands of the Southern Cone.