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Reserva Natural Provincial Del Iberá

Some 8,000 years ago, Reserva Natural Provincial del Iberá’s immense wetlands were the channel of the Río Paraná, which now flows along the north edge of the estuary. Now the system of waterways is fed purely by the 1200-1500 millimeters (47-59 in) of rain that falls yearly. The series of lagoons and marshes drains into the Río Corriente on Iberá’s southern point, which then flows into the modern-day Río Paraná.

Iberá’s wetlands are composed of six types of ecosystems. Lagoons make up 31,500 hectares (77,838 acres), or 20-30%, of the area. The largest are Luna (78 sq km / 30 sq mi) and Iberá (53 sq km / 20 sq mi). Esteros are bodies of standing water, 1-3 meters (3-10 ft) deep, which feature camalotes (purple-flowered water hyacinth) and water lilies. Embalsados are floating islands created by floating plants and sediment. These grow large enough to support trees and mammals like the marsh deer and capybara. Hiding amid this vegetation are caiman.

Another feature of the Iberá landscape are malezales, low-lying grasslands which are the favorite habitat of pampas deer, and birds such as the Strange-tailedtyrant, Brown-and-yellow marshbird and Red-winged tinamou. During the rainy season, bañados (temporary lakes) grow to over 700,000 hectares (1,730,000 ac), covering parts of the lowlands.

Reserva Natural Provincial del Iberá’s main ranger station and administrative center are located on the south shore of Laguna Iberá, near Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. The Centro de Interpreatación Agua Brillante has displays discussing the reserve’s biodiversity and cultural aspects (daily 7:30-11:30 a.m., 3-7 p.m.). The center also shows long and short videos about Iberá (daily 7:30-11 a.m., 3-6:30 a.m.). The two hour-long ones, La Vida en las Aguas Brillantes and Los Pobladores, are for sale ($10 each) and come in several languages. Near the station are three hiking trails. See Hiking under Colonia Pellegrini for more details.

Four other ranger stations scattered throughout Iberá monitor conditions and activities in the wetlands. These are located on the western and northern edges of the reserve. Entry at any access into the park is free.

Other neighborhoods in Esteros Del Iberá: Mercedes and Colonia Pellegrini.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

07 Jul 2010

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