ASP Las Mesillas
The ASP Las Mesillas borders the southwest of the recently created Traslasierra National Park (Pinas), which extends over 44,000 hectares, and is completed with another 61,000 hectares of National Reserve, forming just one block of protected forest reaching the border of the province of La Rioja. A few kilometers to the south is the 4,920-hectare Chancani Provincial Natural Park and Natural Forest Reserve.
The strategic location of the ASP Las Mesillas makes it a natural part of the Dry Chaco Biogeographical Corridor and a key conservation area of the Dry Chaco Taguá Biological Corridor, acting as a northern buffer zone for the Traslasierra (Pinas) National Park, to ensure the permanence of the key species of the ecosystem of the Dry Chaco such as the Chacoan peccary, the Chacoan guanaco and the crowned eagle.
In the lands of the Traslasierra (Pinas) National Park and the ASP Las Mesilllas we can find an important diversity of plants, with more than 50 species, among mention may be made the white quebracho (Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco) and the carob trees (Prosopis spp.) for their economic importance and strong roots in the culture of the inhabitants of the area. It is estimated that over 200 species of birds inhabit the area, among them, the crowned eagle (Buteogallus coronatus), the salt nun (Neoxolmis salinarum), and a relictual population of the blue-fronted parrot (Amazona aestiva), entre otras.
The ASP Las Mesilllas functions as a buffer zone for Traslasierra (Pinas) National Park, increasing the protected area for benefit of the 35 species of mammals present. It protects habitats that are little represented in the National Park such as saline areas, habitats for many threatened species that have been detected by their footprints, feces, bone remains and/or through the use of trap cameras, like the chacoan guanaco (Lama guanicoe), the Argentine boa (Boa constrictor occidentalis), the puma (Puma concolor) and the Chacoan peccary or taguá (Parachoerus wagneri).
The principal objective of the conservation of this nature reserve is the preservation of the habitat of the Dry Chaco, which houses a high number of tree species, insects, birds, and mammals, but from which only 1.6% of the total surface area is under some type of protection in Argentina.
The Chaocoan guanaco (Lama guanicoe), is another conservation priority of the nature reserve, since it is the last population of this guanaco in Argentina.
The Chacoan or taguá peccary is another conservation priority of the reserve, and of the country, since it is an endemic species of the Dry Chaco. It has been classified as endangered, at the national and international level, which generated a global Action Plan headed by the IUCN and its group of specialists in 2016.