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Paraguayan Pantanal

Date of Submission: 17/01/2018
Criteria: (vii)(ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Paraguayan National Commission for Cooperation with UNESCO
State, Province or Region:
Department de Alto Paraguay - Chaco Paraguayo
Coordinates: S19 53 55 W58 23 34
Ref.: 6281
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Description

This site has been designated as a Wetlands of International Importance (known also as Ramsar site) under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. This place is globally important due to the transition between the Chaco, Pantanal, Amazonas and Atlantic Forest (BAAPA) ecosystems. It is also an Important Bird Area (IBA), due to 22 migratory bird species (most of them neartics migrants) use the site as a stopover place. The Paraguayan Pantanal is equally important for the conservation of charismatic mammals, such as the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), Marsh Deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), Puma (Puma concolor), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Giant Armadillo (Priodontes maximus) and the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). Most of these mammals are considered in some category of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (www.iucnredlist.org). The area’s forests include species such as White Quebracho, Samu’û, and many cacti. The Red Quebracho, Yvyra Ita, Palo Blanco and Labón characterize the transition area between the Chaco and Pantanal. Historically, threats to biodiversity have been few, but recent cattle ranching activities have begun to create new pressures.

The Pantanal is a low altitude alluvial plan that is seasonally flooded and drained by the Praguay River and its tributaries. Part of this site has been designated as a wetland of international importance (also known as a Ramsar site) under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. This place is of global importance due to the transition between the ecosystems of the Chaco, Pantanal, Amazon and Atlantic Forest (BAAPA). It is also an Important Bird Area (IBA), due to 22 species of migratory birds (most of them are Nearctic migrants) that use the site as a place to stop. The Paraguayan Pantanal is equally important for the conservation of charismatic mammals, such as the Great Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the swamp deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), the Puma (Puma concolor), the Jaguar (Panthera onca), the giant Otter (Pteronura) brasiliensis) Tatu carreta (Priodontes maximus) and the Jurumi (Myrmecophaga tridactyla). Most of these mammals are considered in some category of the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species (www.iucnredlist.org). The forests of the area include species such as Quebracho Blanco, Samu'û and many cacti. The Red Quebracho, Yvyra Ita, Palo Blanco and Labón characterize the transition area between the Chaco and the Pantanal. Historically, threats to biodiversity have been scarce, but recent livestock activities have begun to create new pressures.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

Río Negro National Park (RNNP) has been inhabited and used by the Yshir people Ybytoso and Tomaraho for fishing and harvesting of wild fruits and animals, in times of decline and downpipe from the Paraguay River. Currently the indigenous peoples use the area for hunting and harvesting of food and raw material for its crafts, seasonal camps of traditional hunting along the banks of the Rio Negro and internal zones. In addition, the Yshir hold traditional ceremonies according to their worldview in which the forests, the rivers and wildlife play predominant roles. 

This region also has cultural attributes that are represented by a Pantanal culture, people of the ecosystem of the Pantanal, traditionally uses of the space through livestock grazing adapted to the local conditions, as well as the longstanding cultural, social and commercial exchange across the borders of the three countries meeting in the Pantanal.

The Yshir Ybytoso and Tomaraho (Bahía Negra - Fuerte Olimpo) Etnobotánica is another of the attributes relevant to consider, being closely linked to their forests, which shows the high participation in the knowledge of the women in the use of plants and other natural environments (seasonally flooded savannas), as well as the transmission of ancestral knowledge, this constituting a rich intangible heritage which is currently being rescued in a shy way. The Yshiro language is regarded as a universal heritage. 

  • Change in the natural landscapes and climatic variability, can lead to weaken the access to goods and ecosystem services that would affect the families of this group and its income from the sale of handicraft of fibers and others.
  • The RNNP also integrates and protects historical sites of the Chaco War (1932-1935), in particular Comanchaco (Bahía Negra) and Fortin Galpon (Río Negro), using hydroplanes to protect this region. Likewise, there are in this area of ancient ways of native peoples hunters, and which currently are still used, only a horse by locals.
  • Río Negro National Park is located in the northeast corner of the Paraguayan Chaco (Western region), in the Department of Alto Paraguay and entirely within the District of Bahia Negra, on border with the Republic of Bolivia (Otuquis National Park) and Brazil (Pantanal). In 1995 this area was recognized as a Ramsar site. It is of global significance as a WWF ecoregion.
  • The RNNP is a representative sample of the ecoregion of the Gran Pantanal, displaying ongoing ecological and biological processes that occur, with gradients defined by vegetation and flora diverse, by their ecological niches formed in this transition, unique in its kind, between the three ecoregions (dry Chaco, Cerrado, and Pantanal). The area plays a key role in the diffusion of nutrients during flooding materials, as well as the maintenance of the populations of fish and birds.
  • The RNNP and the Chaco Pantanal Reserve / Three Giants Biological Station are one of the areas of the country with greater richness and abundance of species. There are 10 plant communities, 801 species of flora, 92 species of fish in lakes and in the Paraguay and Negro River and its tributaries, 23 species of amphibians, 42 species of reptiles, 356 species of birds and 116 species of mammals, species unique for the whole country, as in the case of the large vertebrates and primates. 12 plant formations, Flora: 801 species, 9-258, endangered (IUCN and CDC), 6 new appointments; Cerambycidae: 84 species (26 new records; Macrolepidopterans: 25 species; Carabidae: 41 species, 17 new appointments, 3 new species (likely 2 new genres); Aquatic Heteroptera: 25 species, 1 new appointment; Dytiscidae-Hydrophilidae: new 10 and 25 species, 2, and 1 respectively, dating perhaps 1 new species of Hydrophilidae; Fish: 91 species, 2 new events for Black River and likely 2 species new; Amphibians: 28 species, 1 new appointment; Reptiles: 40 species; Birds: 356 species, 20 to 84 species; Mammals: 116 species, 2 new appointments, 29 to 38 endangered species according to the different lists (in birds and mammals).
  • The faunal importance of the area is not limited exclusively to the presence of rare or endangered species, but also to local wealth, as the fish spawning areas, wild pigs, deer (which highlights the deer from the swamps), several species of armadillos (of which the giant armadillo stands out), waterfowl, alligators and herpetofauna in general. This wealth is exploited in a sustainable manner, by the local population, particularly by native peoples Yshiro Ybytoso and Ayoreo, which based its power and even their sources of income in the wildlife.

Criterion (vii): The Paraguayan Pantanal belongs to the great ecoregion of the trinational swamp (Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay), considered one of the most important swamplands at a global scale, for being the one of greatest dimension, and for being a strategic reserve for the provision of freshwater to the area. Protecting the Black River as the main contributor of the swampland and the Paraguay River, as well as being the border between Paraguay and Bolivia, neighboring the Otuquis National Park.

This area offers a majestic combination of palms (constituted mainly by Copernicia alba, savannas flooded during a period of time for which its flora is very particular, due to the adaptation to the dry environments like flooded), riverside forests and forests of Quebracho colorado (Schinopsis balansae) that accompany the Paraguay River and the Negro River. This can be seen integrated with own vegetation of wetlands (dammed), in addition to lagoons and sandbanks that together give a unique attraction to the area. The embalsados ​​or floating islands, of great extensions can sustain some weight reptiles like Caiman yacare, C. latirostris, mammals like Lutra platensis and several species of aquatic birds; offering a landscape very different from what is known on the Brazilian side. In addition, the large congregations of aquatic species of birds such as the tuyuyu cuartelero (Jabiru mycteria), Tuyuyu (Mycteria americana), stork (Ciconia maguari) offer another scenic attraction to the area.

Towards the area of ​​Fuerte Olimpo we marvel at the rocky outcrops on both banks of the river, such as the Galván hill on the Paraguayan side and the Pan de Azúcar hill in Brazil.

Criterion (ix): It sets a territory defined by things that make everything within the ecosystem unique, containing the greatest representation of biologically diverse species. The Rio Negro National Park is set apart from the other swamplands in Brazil and Bolivia because it neighbors two other ecoregions (cerrado and Chaco Seco) configuring its biodiversity to a dynamic that is unique and restricted to the area.

The pulse of water in the Paraguay River is cyclical, depending on the years with more or less precipitation; the ups and downs of the waters are made more slowly, with variations, and in certain periods. This cycle has a great influence on the natural formations and their associated fauna as well as on the riparian population and its economic activities. Therefore, the natural spaces subject to the floods of the river have their variables depending on the changes that occur, causing a series of natural, annual, biannual or longer-term successions in the vegetation (depending on the coverage and time of the permanence of water in these areas, known as "water pulse action"). This brings with it all the other changes that have taken place in this time that influence the soils, the terrestrial fauna, the aquatic fauna, the regional and migratory birds.

It should be noted that during periods of flood, the fauna migrates to areas with more water, and even to the only wet areas at certain times, playing an essential role in the maintenance of fauna in the area.

On the other hand, in areas with few ravines, flooded palm groves create very particular habitats for aquatic vegetation, and are very important sites for the spawning of certain fish species. In addition the whole area has a high value as a biocultural corridor, since part of it corresponds to transition zones between the drier and wetter areas of the Western Region.

Criterion (x): The Rio Negro National Park- The Reserva Natural Pantanal Paraguayo (Paraguayan Swampland) and the Reserva de Patrimonio Indígena Yshir TOBICH (Reserve of Indigenous Heritage), respect the latest samples of the swampland ecosystem, with care towards the location and habitat of three large mammals in danger: The Swampland Deer, the giant Anteater, and the giant Otter. A bank of germplasm was naturally created in the swampland with the native flora of the Yishir tribe’s medicinal and nutritional vegetation. Their exceptional value further exalts that this is an ecosystem unique, regionally and globally.

The Paraguayan Pantanal is extremely important to conserve the biological diversity that exists in the area. It houses 91 species of mammals, 386 species of birds, 37 species of amphibians, 55 species of reptiles and 173 species of fish. It represents a habitat for large mammals terrestrial and aquatic, and concentrations of species of unique birds (migratory and local), as well as migration of fish. Notable species of interest such as the Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Jaguar (Panther onca), Tatu cart / Giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), Marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), Giant Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Puma (Puma concolor) and the Maned Wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). Inside these species, the giant anteater (VU), giant armadillo (VU), Giant Otter (EN) and the Marsh deer (VU) are considered in some category of threat by the IUCN.

It should be noted that in the area there are large congregations of birds, among them is the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) where the population found could represent 1% of the global population of the species (important for recognition as a RAMSAR site and an Area Important for Birds, or IBA, according to its acronym in English). In addition to being an area widely used by 22 species of Nearctic migratory bird.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

The Rio Negro National Park (RNNP) was created by Decree of the power Executive No. 14.218 in the year 2004, with a surface of 123.786 has. The incorporation of the 14,000 hectare Paraguayan Pantanal Reserve / Tres Gigantes Biological Station, owned and managed by the Association Guyra Paraguay, is envisaged. Both sites make up a mosaic of conservation and biological corridor, recognized as a Ramsar site, as well as an area of importance for birds (IBA), forming part of the Chaco biosphere reserve, as one of several core zones. Annual periodic inundation of the Gran Pantanal cycles, give a unique feature to the Rio Negro National Park.

The Rio Negro National Park and its buffer zone are representative of the region of the Gran Pantanal, since they preserve and protect ecological processes, and biological continuous which occur in that ecosystem, as well as also holding functions, environmental goods and services of high importance in the water regulation and regulation against extreme events, in addition to the supply of water of good quality and food at local and regional level. It belongs to a freshwater wetland system of utmost strategic value for the region and the world.

The Paraguayan Pantanal and flood plains, represent the survival of Aboriginal peoples engaged in fishing (Yshiro Ybytoso/Bahia Negra), as well as artisanal fishermen of coastal populations, since this is their main means of livelihood. The use of traditional knowledge for their sustainable management, constitutes value added as attribute, since they use harvest systems through the weather readings and the natural environment.

The Río Negro National Park and its buffer zone are representative of the Great Pantanal region, as they preserve and protect ongoing ecological and biological processes that occur in that ecosystem, as well as retention functions, environmental goods and services of high importance in the regulation and regulation of water against extreme events, in addition to the supply of good quality water and food at the local and regional level. It belongs to a system of freshwater wetlands of high strategic value for the region and the world.

The Paraguayan Pantanal and the flood plains represent the survival of the aboriginal peoples dedicated to fishing (Yshiro Ybytoso / Bahia Negra), as well as the artisanal fishermen of the coastal populations, since this is their main means of subsistence. The use of traditional knowledge for sustainable management constitutes an added value as an attribute, since they use harvesting systems through climate readings and the natural environment.

Rio Negro National Park protects a understood natural landscape Pantanal  and the Paraguay River in a unique scenic beauty, wildlife present and protected populations, with seasonally flooded forests and disrupting, how it protects also the only way River linking these countries to the Atlantic. It is called the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, also becoming a natural biological corridor that allows the survival of indigenous peoples and coastal communities along the river.

The site is an ecoregional transition area between the Pantanal, Cerrado and the dry Chaco, which confers the attribute of ecological niche or the so-called ecotones, with species of flora and fauna characteristics, which allows to make the ancient livelihoods of the Yshiro people Ybytoso, giving an exceptional universal value. Also highlights the need for protection of paleobeds and glens (some of these Glens have more than 400 km of uninterrupted expansion), the Alto Chaco and the Black River since they make up the most important tributaries of the Pantanal.

The Río Negro National Park protects a natural landscape including the Pantanal and the Paraguay River in a unique scenic beauty, the present fauna and the protected populations, with the seasonally flooded forests and the interruption, as it also protects the only form of Rio that unites these countries to the Atlantic. It is called the Paraguay-Paraná Canal, also becoming a natural biological corridor that allows the survival of indigenous peoples and coastal communities along the river.

The site is an ecoregional transition zone between the Pantanal, the Cerrado and the dry Chaco, which confers the attribute of ecological niche or the so-called ecotones, with characteristic flora and fauna species, which allows to make the old livelihoods of the Yshiro Ybytoso people, giving an exceptional universal value. It also highlights the need for protection of paleobeds and valleys (some of these Glens have more than 400 km of uninterrupted expansion), the Alto Chaco and the Río Negro, since they are the most important tributaries of the Pantanal.

The size of the Pantanal Conservation Area is clearly defined and is sufficient for the maintenance of important ecological and biological processes for the conservation of biological diversity in the long term. The level of fragility of the Pantanal is high and the effects of human practices (dredging, excessive fishing, deforestation, acute erosion, wastewater, waste, dams generating hydrodynamic changes, canalization of water courses) represent serious threats for the entire region . The Pantanal National Park and the Dorochê Reserve are directly affected by negative human activities. The Acurizal and Penha reserves are less subject to these effects but their flood regions are affected by these impacts.

It should be noted that around the proposed site, several private abandoned properties could ensure additional property protection. The integrity of the site would be improved if a larger area could be obtained for inclusion in the property.

The area is important for the maintenance of biological diversity, as well as all the ecological processes that exist in the area. It has a unique value at the national level, since there is a diversity of species that are only found there. The diversity of species occurs thanks to the cyclic process of the Paraguay River, which is a fundamental factor for all the livelihoods that inhabit the area. It should be noted that in the area there are several threats (CITAR) that can affect all the processes that exist in the area and even affect the other ecosystems that depend on them. For example, the channeling and construction of dams in the rivers of the Pantanal would end the natural pulse that it possesses, damaging the life that depends on it.

Although the selected area may be sufficient to safeguard all of the above, the alteration of this set due to changes in the natural landscapes and the alteration of the water flows at the Pantanal level, may generate an alteration and degradation of the quality of the water. life of the local populations that depend on the forest, the river and the Pantanal in the provision of resources and the supply of good quality water. It would also create climate stress for the survival of large mammals and other livelihoods.

Comparison with other similar properties

The attributes that determine the importance of the Río Negro National Park, the Paraguayan Pantanal Nature Reserve, and the other properties that make up the proposed area are representative of the Pantanal.

Culturally, in history, in the worldview of a native people who still live in the place, a natural capital that stimulates human life by providing environmental goods and services to a wide region, composed of large agricultural companies. It should be noted that the Yshiro Ybytoso y Tomaraho people, through their indigenous organization UCINY, maintained a shared ownership with a locally based environmental organization (Guyra Paraguay), a property of more than 4,745.7 hectares as part of a territorial claim through of a Pantanal REDD project (Guyra Paraguay / WLT - UCINY) and addition to protected areas.

Naturally because the little economic development and infrastructure make the natural processes and conservation of biodiversity very high. The way of life of the current inhabitants of the region, develops in a manner compatible with the protection of biodiversity. The diversity and peculiarity of the fauna is remarkable and the natural landscapes to which they are integrated are unique and in a pristine state.

The Pantanal Conservation Area (Brazil) includes a set of four contiguous protected areas: the Pantanal Matogrossense National Park and the special reserves of Acurizal, Penha and Doroche, with a total area of 187,818 hectares. This area consists of a large interior delta where the water rises several meters annually, flooding a vast territory, and then recede, creating a landscape of great beauty, where birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. This area represents 1.3% of the total area of the Brazilian Pantanal, where there are other types of vegetation associated with the gradients, and high forests and different life zones are observed.

The Río Negro National Park, the Paraguayan Pantanal Nature Reserve, the Ceibo Private Nature Reserve and the neighboring properties make up a set of sites of high value for the conservation and provision of ecosystem services, contributing to indigenous communities, rural communities and businesses agricultural. they are developed in a geography associated with extreme weather phenomena and functions of drought and flood, where the relations between man and nature are kept in constant equilibrium, the traditional use of fauna and flora, the incipient tourist development are relevant elements of the region.

It is important to increase the levels of protection to these lands as the alteration of this set of livelihoods due to changes in natural landscapes and the alteration of water flows at the Pantanal level, can generate an alteration and degradation of the quality of life of the local populations that depend on the forest, the river and the Pantanal in the provision of resources and the supply of good quality water. It would also create climate stress for the survival of large mammals.

The governance of territorial management is between the municipal public sector, organized civil society, rural communities and indigenous communities