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Natural reserve in Paraguay
Laguna Blanca has been identified by Conservation International as a 'biodiversity hotspot' and by Birdlife International as an 'Important Bird Area'. Laguna Blanca is one of the most biodiverse areas in Paraguay due to its unique location at the frontier of two distinct eceoregions. Our project house sits by the side of Laguna Blanca, an artesian lake, with pristine cerrado to the north and humid Atlantic Forest to the south. This combination of habitats and the fact that many of the species are endemic to Laguna Blanca makes the area very interesting to study. Since April 2010 we have already discovered seven new species for Paraguay. But there is still lots left to discover.
Why protect Laguna Blanca?
The white-winged nightjar - Laguna Blanca is home to the white-winged nightjar, a critically endangered species of nocturnal bird known to breed here and at just two other locations worldwide. With a population estimate of only 500 individuals, 200 of which live at Laguna Blanca, the need to conserve its habitat cannot be overemphasised.
Rapid destruction - in Paraguay, the cerrado suffers continuous destruction as a result of expanding agricultural activities, such as cattle ranching and soya production. Land purchase by conservation-oriented non-profit organisations protects land from exploitation and helps to maintain crucial wildlife corridors to link remaining pockets of original vegetation.
Ecological importance - The Reserve encompasses approximately 804 hectares, and is uniquely situated at the confluence of three important South American eco-regions: the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado, and the Bosque Central of Paraguay. This transition zone between habitats is almost unstudied and offers a huge variety of project options no matter what your interests may be. Additionally, the reserve is centered around a natural artesian lake, Laguna Blanca, approximately 2km x 1km. Because of this, the Reserve harbors a noteworthy diversity of plants and wildlife, including a number of rare, threatened, or endangered species.
Lack of scientific attention - Until April 2010, when Para La Tierra arrived at Laguna Blanca, the area was practically unstudied. In our first year we worked primarily on inventories of all the taxa in the reserve and have added numerous new species to the list for Paraguay and for Departmento San Pedro. This can only lead to even more exciting discoveries in the future, which you could be a part of. There might even be some new species for science waiting in the cerrado.