New combined protected area forms largest nature park in Argentina
December 5, 2018 — Buenos Aires, Argentina
On December 5, 2018, the Congress of Argentina passed legislation approving the creation of Iberá National Park, located in northeastern Argentina, ensuring the long-term conservation of the almost 395,000 acres it encompasses. Douglas and Kristine Tompkins established the two foundations through which this land was donated: Conservation Land Trust (CLT) and Flora and Fauna Argentina. The Argentine Congress has now ratified this land’s long-term protection, consistent with Argentina and President Mauricio Macri’s goals to increase Argentina’s protected areas. It is estimated that in 10 years, Iberá Park will receive more than 100,000 visitors each year, promoting economic prosperity as a result of conservation.
The new national park adds to the adjacent 1.3-million-acre Iberá Provincial Park. At a combined approximately 1.76-million acres, Iberá Park is now the largest nature park in Argentina and one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country. Centered on the great Iberá marshlands of Corrientes Province (one of the largest freshwater wetlands complexes in South America), Iberá Park’s diverse habitats of water, grasslands, and forest are home to some 4,000 species of flora and fauna (almost 30 percent of the total recognized in Argentina). The park is also home to the most ambitious program of “rewilding”—efforts to restore natural processes and reintroduce missing species—in South America.
“Today is a day to celebrate,” said Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation. “For the wildlife at home here, for the people of Argentina, and for future generations who will experience this amazing landscape’s beauty and biodiversity, the new park’s designation is a great victory.”
Congressional approval of the law establishing the park reflects collaboration between Tompkins Conservation’s CLT Argentina team, the national and provincial governments, and various other institutions, in addition to the support of Iberá’s surrounding communities.
“After many years of work, the vision of the people of Corrientes and Doug Tompkins to create Iberá National Park is finally fulfilled,” said Sofía Heinonen, Executive Director of CLT Argentina. “With the proclamation of this new National Park, together with the neighboring Provincial Park, the natural and cultural heritage of Iberá is fully protected. The result is a world-class tourist attraction for birding and wildlife watching.”
About Tompkins Conservation:
Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to help protect wild nature. The Tompkinses concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat biodiversity loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of conservation, offering a unique set of ecological, cultural, and economic benefits. To date, the organization and its partners including local and national governments, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, activists, and fellow conservationists have protected roughly 13 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina. Tompkins Conservation is the leader in the Americas in “rewilding”—restoring ecosystems and reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from a region because of human pressures.