Pampas Grasslands

Pampas Grasslands

– Alliance for the Conservation of the South American Pampas Grasslands

Year: 2007 – 2010
: BirdLife International

Project background
The Pampas or Southern Cone Grasslands of South America cover an area of one million square kilometres in four Mercosur countries: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. They constitute one of the richest areas of grassland biodiversity in the world, especially noted for plant species diversity (many of considerable economic value) and grassland-dependent birds. Fifteen Pampas bird species are globally threatened with extinction, and natural grasslands are key to the conservation of many others, including various Arctic-breeding shorebirds. The Pampas also have deep cultural roots – as represented by the figure of the “gaucho” (a South American “cowboy”). Traditionally used for free-range cattle-ranching, these grasslands are increasingly being lost to intensive agriculture.

Conservation of the Pampas grasslands has barely received attention (just 2% are included within protected areas), and is now dependent on private landowners, and cattle ranchers in particular. But these ranchers and their ranches are also in decline – as market, political and technological forces create pressure to use land for industrial crops and plantation forestry. In response to the dramatic loss of Southern Cone grasslands, in 2006, the BirdLife International Partners in the region came together to develop a large-scale multi-national initiative for grassland biodiversity conservation in the region, modeled on the North American Joint Ventures approach and capitalizing on the deep cultural roots and low biodiversity impact of traditional cattle ranching.

pdficon_largePampas Grasslands – Final Report (PDF 945kb)

Expanding the Alliance

-Towards sustainability of Pampas grassland conservation

Year: 2011 – 2013

In recognition of the global importance of the Pampas grasslands of southern South America for biodiversity conservation and the rapidly growing threats they face, in 2006 BirdLife created the “Southern Cone Grasslands Alliance”, with initial support from the Aage V. Jensen Charity Foundation, US Forest Service (USFS) and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This cross-sectorial initiative aims “To conserve the Southern Cone natural grasslands through coordinated actions between Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, including producers, civil-society organizations, academia and governments, within a framework of harmonic and sustainable development in the region”.

Through this new project, BirdLife is seeking to consolidate the Alliance and in doing so undertake and support activities that will more fully integrate biodiversity conservation into the Pampas production landscape, consolidating a new paradigm for long-term grassland conservation through livestock ranching. The responsible production model successfully trialled during the previous project will be used to increase the biodiversity value of grazed grasslands, ensure the set-aside of pristine grasslands, and increase income for producers.

pdficon_largeGrasslands Alliance 2012 – Annual report (PDF 1.023kb)

pdficon_large Grasslands Alliance 2011 – Annual report (PDF 642kb)

pdficon_large WBW-Grasslands (PDF 623kb)