With more than 50 million hectares in Argentina, the Gran Chaco is the second largest forest in South America. The region hosts hundreds of indigenous and rural communities and is key to biodiversity conservation, with 3,400 plant species, 500 bird species, and 220 reptile and amphibian species.
Agriculture – especially soy – and livestock, are the main economic sectors in northern Argentina, where large-scale industry and smallholder farmers produce 60% of domestic exports.
Soy agriculture has spread to the regions of Gran Chaco, where grain production has increased over the last 5 years, and more than 53 million tons of soy are produced each year. Under this scenario, experts say that if the global demand for soybeans continues to rise, so will agricultural production and areas destined for this crop.
TNC works in the provinces of Salta, Santiago del Estero and El Chaco, improving livestock and soy farming systems.
Improving soybean and livestock production systems
Gran Chaco is one of the Latin American regions that presents deforestation, soil degradation and ecosystem loss and biodiversity due to climate variability and expansion of areas destined to agricultural production. Soybean production and conventional livestock breeding are two of the main practices driving land use changes and aggravating this threat.
Being aware of this situation, we work to improve the agroecological, environmental and social conditions of the Gran Chaco. Today, TNC, partners and local allies protect nearly 500,000 hectares of land through a collaborative platform to minimize habitat and deforestation losses in these productive sectors.
We also work with partners such as the Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture (CFA) to mitigate deforestation and achieve the goal of increasing and conserving forest land in El Gran Chaco to 2 million hectares.
On the other hand, we have developed sustainable and regenerative agriculture and grazing practices for the restoration of grasslands and the prevention of soil degradation in the Argentine Patagonia, under the Grassland Regeneration and Sustainability Standard (GRASS), recovering and preserving grasslands and ecosystems through the sustainable production of wool and meat, since 70% of the region’s land is affected by desertification, 35% of which presents severe degradation.
We have managed more than 5,000 hectares since 2016, thanks to transformative conservation alongside local partners, demonstrating that science- and nature-based practices enable the development of people and nature, and meet global food demands by contributing to the socioeconomic development of Argentina.
R2A in Argentina
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Manual
This manual, developed through a platform of key decision makers such as TNC, Syngenta, producers and associations, enables local farmers to reduce the impact of their agricultural production, making the use of water resources and agricultural inputs more efficient, as well as improving connectivity between corridors in order to increase biodiversity. Some of the best practices in this manual include: No-till, Integrated Pest Management, and Use of cover crops and crop rotation
R2A in Argentina
In 2019, we implemented an agroforestry business model tailored to the specific conditions of the arid region of Gran Chaco, to promote sustainable beef production and generate changes in land use for this sector. We expect this model to be implemented as a pilot project in two ranches in the province of Salta, where livestock farming has become a driving force for change, and initial results to be published by mid-2020.
With our work in El Gran Chaco, we aim to generate impacts that improve productivity, the socioeconomic development of producers, and the state of ecosystem services, such as:
- Improve soil conditions: increased organic matter and natural fertility, increased carbon capture and water infiltration and retention
- Increased connectivity with native ecosystems and an increase in local biodiversity
- Reduced fossil fuel consumption, reduced habitat conversion and reduced carbon footprint
We hope that our work will enable us to improve the conditions of the Great Chaco through regenerative practices and conservation, generating benefits for ecosystems, biodiversity, and local livelihoods.
Let’s make a bigger impact
Write to us if you would like to learn more about our work in Gran Chaco and Latin America. Be a part of this change.