Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Trade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in the South American Chaco



Rapid agricultural expansion and intensification threatens the Chaco’s unique biodiversity, but the exact relationship between the loss of natural areas and biodiversity patterns remains weakly understood. Within the CHACO project we map land-use changes during the past 30 years and improve our understanding of consequences for biodiversity in the Chaco, with the goal to identify trade-offs between the contrasting goals of agriculture and conservations.


Funding and support:

This project receives funding from the German Research Foundation (1.10.2015 – 30.09.2018).





New DFG project started: Understanding links between agriculture and biodiversity in the Chaco

A new project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG, KU 2458/5-1) and entitledTrade-offs between agriculture and biodiversity conservation in the South American Chaco” started with a Kickoff meeting of German and Argentine project partners in Argentina in October 2015. The Argentine Chaco is among the most rapidly transforming forest ecoregions worldwide, mainly due to the expansion of export-oriented agriculture and cattle ranching. The widespread conversions of natural grasslands and forests to agricultural lands in the Chaco also exert great pressure on the region’s biodiversity, but how different taxa respond to land use change, which species are loosers and which winners of the recent agricultural boom, and how agriculture and conservation goals could be balanced in the region remains highly unclear.

The new project will assess these issues for the entire Argentine Chaco by making full use of the Landsat image archive to reconstruct land-use change for the last 40 years for the Argentine Chaco. We wil, in close cooperation with Argentine partners of INTA Castelar and INTA Salta, as well as the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires and the Universidad Nacional de Tucuman study bird and mammal communities and explore how these communities change with increasing pressure from land use, and other human disturbances. In addition to new scientific insights, the project seeks to provide important decision support for land use and conservation planning in the region, for example via feeding results into the BMBF funded PASANOA project.