Amazonia to Patagonia
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South America: a land of diversity and contrast

From towering waterfalls to mighty mountains, lush rainforests to harsh deserts, South America is a land of contrasts and a land of extremes. But with this rich natural wealth comes a daunting responsibility—how to preserve the continent’s unique and fragile environment in the face of burgeoning economic development.

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> Read João Stacishin de Queiroz's opinion on the importance of biodiversity in a changing world
João Stacishin de Queiroz

IUCN Director General Interview

El trabajo de la UICN en América del Sur: Mensaje de la Directora General

Julia Marton-Lefèvre talks about South America's conservation challenges.

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Finding a better way in Ecuador

White-collared peccary

Reducing the trade in wild meat that is harming wildlife populations in Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.

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Did you know?

• The world’s highest commercially navigable lake—Lake Titicaca is found in South America.
• Six of the 17 so-called megadiverse countries are found in South America (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Venezuela).

> More facts and figures

Partners for the protection of Ecuador’s forests

Bosques Amazónicos. Napo, Ecuador

The Ecuadorian Government is taking bold steps to protect the country's native forests, providing financial incentives per hectare of forest to individual landowners or indigenous communities.

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Natural treasures

Machu Picchu

Take a look at some of the region's natural treasures, that are protected as World Heritage sites, national parks, wilderness areas and so on.

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A Sally lightfoot crab on Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador South America in pictures.
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Páramo, Cotopaxi National Park. Ecuador How much do you know about South America's conservation challenges?
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He's only just begun

Jon Paul Rodríguez Profiling Venezuelan biologist Jon Paul Rodríguez.
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Check here for selected Publications about South America, or search our catalogue.
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The 25 most endangered turtles and tortoises

A Galapagos tortoise in the Galapagos, Ecuador. Many turtles and tortoises could become extinct within the next few decades.
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IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature © 2011

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

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Photo credits: Header banner, photo gallery, Easing the energy pressure, world's forests essential to life, quiz © Intu Boedhihartono; Expert report © IUCN; No forest, no life © Sampson Acheampong; closer to forests © Andrew Ingles; Haiti's frogs © robin Moore iLCP