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San Rafael Managed Resource Reserve

San Rafael, Paraguay

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Laguna San Rafael National Park is a park located on the Pacific coast of southern Chile. The park is named for the San Rafael Lagoon formed by the retreat of the San Rafael Glacier. Created in 1959, it covers an area of 17,420 km2 (6,726 sq mi) and includes the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. A fjord more than 16 km (10 mi) long is one of the park's principal attractions.

Non-indigenous people first explored the area of Laguna San Rafael in the year 1675. The glacier of the same name was a land-terminating glacier during that time. It probably reached again the lagoon at some time between 1741 and 1766, and it has been a tidewater glacier since that date.

The park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979.

The park comprises some of the higher Andes mountains of Patagonia, such as the Monte San Valentín, Cerro Arenales, Cerro Hyades and Cerro Pared Norte.

This park contains a number of rivers. San Tadeo River is located in the Isthmus of Ofqui and flows into San Quintín Bay in the north part of the Gulf of Penas. Also there are various rivers bordering the park, such as the Baker River and the Exploradores River. Témpanos River (not really a river) connects San Rafael Lagoon with the Gulf Elefantes, the southern part of Moraleda Channel.

Presidente Ríos Lake spans the border between the park and Las Guaitecas National Reserve.

Average annual rainfall at Cabo Raper (lat 46°50' S.), on the open coast of the Taitao Peninsula, is about 2,000 mm (79 in). Going eastward, the amount of precipitation increases in the sheltered areas of the Chilean Inside Passage, being similar to that of Los Lagos Region. The average annual precipitation recorded between 1981 and 1985 at Laguna San Rafael weather station (lat 46°37' S.) was 4,440 mm (175 in). At higher elevations, the precipitation increase is significant and is in the form of snow on the Northern Patagonian Ice Field, being recorded over 6,000 mm (240 in) of annual precipitation.

Several species of birds find shelter in the park, including black-browed albatrosses, Great Grebes, black-necked swans and cormorants. The wildlife in this area also include Chilean dolphins, sea lions, marine otters and elephant seals.

Description provided through Wikipedia. Is it incorrect? .

Latest activity in this protected area

  • 8b553090b460a36315d4fcb53f13ecd3

    peter clark commented on the Site

    over 1 year ago

    " This protected area, established in 1992, is found in southeastern Paraguay, and covers an area of 72,849 hectares. Located mainly in the department of Itapua, with the extreme northern part in the department of Caazapa, the park protects one of the largest forest remnants of the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest Ecoregion in Paraguay. It contains a representative sample of the diversity of the ecoregion’s flora and fauna. However, it is exposed to anthropic pressures that threaten its biodiversity. About 500 Mbya indigenous people live in the park’s general area, including 120-150 within the boundaries. These communities hunt within the area for their subsistence and harvest forest products, including medicinal plants and firewood. The Mbya Guarani indigenous people have a deep knowledge of the environment, particularly its climate, wild flora and fauna, and its ecological processes. It is remarkable the diversity of plants that they know, reaching more than 300 species, used for their diet or for construction items. Some groups practice traditional forms of subsistence: hunting, gathering, and agriculture practiced on small parcels carved out in the forest. For them, the forest carries out an important function in the ecosystem’s equilibrium, and each forestry species, in turn, carries out a vital function; several tree species must remain without being cut. The protected area contains important fragile natural ecosystems pertaining to the ecoregion. The forests are distributed along the hill range of San Rafael, while the savannas, natural fields, and wetlands are situated in the floodplain of the Tebicuary River. These ecosystems constitute natural habitats for threatened and endangered wild species. The general area is characterized for being found within the largest basin reserve of fresh water of the South American continent, the Guarani Aquifer; the numerous water courses (Tebicuary, Carumbey, Canguery, Tembey, Pirapó) and tributaries that cross the area empty into the Paraguay and Parana Rivers (Paraguay Silvestre, 1992). For its relevance for biodiversity, the park has been declared the first IBA (Important Bird Area) of Paraguay and several NGOs are working to protect it, by means of land purchase and park ranger control. Up to now, 427 bird species have been documented, representing 60% of the country’s recorded species. Among the large raptors that live in these forests, special mention can be made of the presence of two of the largest and at the same time rarest: harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) and crested eagle (Morphnus guianensis). Moreover, more endemic bird species have been recorded for the park than any other site in Paraguay. It represents the last refuge in the southern region of the country for the dwarf red brocket deer (Mazama nana), an endemic species to the ecoregion, and other large mammals like jaguar, puma, and tapir. A conservation corridor, composed of Tapyta Nature Reserve and other lands, between San Rafael National Park and Caazapa National Park to the northeast has been established to reduce the genetic isolation of wildlife. Guarani history, did not foresee the ownership of a certain territory. For these indigenous people, land is not merchandise that one can buy, it is of community use. They consider it absurd that they must acquire title to lands that pertained to them by traditional possession and for religious reasons. "

  • 8b553090b460a36315d4fcb53f13ecd3

    peter clark commented on the Site

    almost 2 years ago

    "The description information for this area pertains to the national park in Chile, not in Paraguay."

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Official Record

  • WDPA ID21003
  • NameSan Rafael
  • Original NameSan Rafael
  • Country / TerritoryPRY
  • Sub locationNot Reported
  • IUCN CategoryVIWhat is this?
  • English DesignationManaged Resource Reserve
  • Designation TypeNational
  • StatusDesignated
  • Status Year1992
  • Reported Area km2700.0
  • Marinefalse
  • Governance TypeNot Reported
  • International CriteriaNot Applicable
  • Management AuthorityNot Reported
  • Management Plan URLNot Reported




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Official Data Provider

Secretaría del Ambiente, Paraguay and Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo, Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Proyecto: “Iniciativa para la Protección de Áreas Silvestres del Paraguay” (2003)

The boundaries and names shown, and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.


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  • Iucn_red_white_small Logogbif

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