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The Study Site

Wildlife Ecology in San Guillermo National Park

San Guillermo National Park is located in the Andes Mountains in the north-western Argentina province of San Juan.

Map of Argentina and San Guillermo National

The park’s 656 square miles contain one of the most ecologically intact areas left in South America. The plant and animal communities found in the park are threatened in most  other places in South America.

However, San Guillermo National Park is very isolated and difficult to get to. Because of this  people have had little impact on the park. In fact, in an average year, only 15 tourists visit the park!

The landscape, climate and vegetation of San Guillermo National Park: High, Cold, Dry and Windy. . .just like Wyoming!

The Average Elevation is 12,000 feet.

The average elevation of the open plains in this area of the Andes is 12,000 feet.

The plains are surrounded by the steep Andes Mountains

The plains are surrounded by the steep Andes Mountains.

There are also rocky outcrops and narrow canyons.

There are also rocky outcrops and narrow canyons.

The climate is dry and cold.

The climate is dry and cold with extreme changes of temperature and almost no precipitation. Summers, which begin in December and last to early March, are warm. Winters are long, cold and very windy.

The area is classified as a desert because it receives an average of 8

Because there is an average of eight inches of precipitation each year, this area is classified as a desert. The precipitation comes either as snow in the winter months from May to September. . .or as rain or hail storms in the summer months from December to March.

Due to the dry, cold climate, there are no trees.

Because the climate is so dry and cold, there are no trees. The shrubs and short grasses that do grow cover less than 10% of the landscape. Most of the area is bare ground.

Vegetation grows where water is available.

In areas where water is available, 90% of the ground is covered in vegetation. Although these meadows cover only 5% of the total land area, they provide an abundance of high quality food for grazing animals.

On the Way to San Guillermo National Park

You will see why only 15 dedicated and determined tourists visit the park each year, and get a glimpse of life at the research station there.

Plants and Animals in San Guillermo National Park

The communities of plants and animals in this video have been seriously altered almost everywhere else in South America.

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