lies inside the reserved area of the Nahuel Huapi National Park.
Fortin Chacabuco ranch lies inside the reserved area of the Nahuel Huapi National Park. © Ezequiel Garcia


Fortin Chacabuco: Sustainable Grazing and a Future for Argentina's Grasslands

People and Nature Thriving Together in Patagonia's Landscape

From the beginning we planned for Fortin Chacabuco to become a learning center, as it offers a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how conservation is essential to making people's lives better.

Argentina Trustee Board Member

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We are showcasing how sustainable grazing can save Patagonia's natural landscapes.

At the foothills of the Andes, where mountain streams and shrubland give way to the Patagonian grasslands, lies a ranch called Fortin Chacabuco. Home to the Andean condors and black-chested buzzard eagles, this working ranch harbors critically endangered species found nowhere else on earth, such as the social tuco-tuco, a hardy rodent that has survived for thousands of years in Patagonia's harsh highlands.

To strengthen its sustainable grazing work in Patagonia, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) took over the management of the 13,000-acre Fortin Chacabuco working ranch in 2016 after the property was donated by the Gary Family as a demonstration site for sustainable grazing. Fortin Chacabuco is showing ranchers, government officials and the local community that nature and people can thrive together under science-based conservation and collaboration agreements.

Intense overgrazing in the region has resulted in major habitat loss and since there is little research aimed at understanding how best to manage Patagonian transition and steppe habitat, Fortin Chacabuco provides an important and unique opportunity for conservation. where  TNC manages the site through private land conservation efforts and science-based restorative grazing to preserve significant national and global natural resources. Currently, TNC is carrying out more than 25 conservation science research projects in conjunction with local, national and global scientists and universities for replication elsewhere.

has been the predominant land use in Fortin Chacabuco.
Sheep grazing has been the predominant land use in Fortin Chacabuco. © Laura Perez

Fortin Chacabuco is a Grassland Regeneration and Sustainability Standard (GRASS) sustainable grazing demonstration site to ensure the recovery of grasslands in the region. TNC implemented GRASS in collaboration with the private sector and  a network of ranchers in Patagonia in 2015 to produce sustainable wool and beef while maintaining and restoring the health of Patagonia’s temperate grasslands.

As a demonstration site, Fortin Chacabuco is a great opportunity to influence civil society and government on the future of grasslands conservation . The ranch validates the concept that cattle and sheep ranching in Patagonia’s grassland can occur in a manner that promotes ecosystem health. It also provides a model so that private ranchers in the region can recover historically overgrazed habitats and sustain a culturally-important agricultural activity.

Fortin Chacabuco is also seen as a place of learning. TNC hosts hands-on educational programs to local communities, children, ranchers, producers, environmental leaders, scientists and government officials. The ranch creates an opportunity for The Nature Conservancy to leverage transformational conservation in Argentina.

Fortin Chacabuco will expand conservation in Argentina, and will help shape the way lands and waters are managed across the continent to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.

Global Board of Directors Emeritus Member, United States, TNC