About Paraguay

Paraguay sits at the heart of South America. A land-locked country between Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina, Paraguay has a land area of 406,750 square kilometres and a population of approximately 6.8 million, most of whom live in the eastern part of the country.

The country is divided into two distinct natural regions by the Paraguay River: to the west is the Chaco region, and to the east a mosaic of forested habitats called the 'región Oriental'.

Vascular plant diversity

Paraguay is estimated to have between 5,000-7,000 species of vascular plants, over two-thirds occurring in eastern Paraguay.

This richness has been attributed to the mosaic of habitat types (including Atlantic Forest, Humid Chaco, Dry Chaco, Cerrado, Pantanal and Southern Grasslands) in the country and the position of Paraguay at the edge of the tropics.

The Tropic of Capricorn divides the Paraguay in two, meaning:

  • many tropical plants occur at their southernmost distribution
  • many southern temperate plants occur at their northernmost distribution.

Rapid forest loss is a major threat to Paraguay’s rich biodiversity mainly due to agricultural extension, cattle ranching and logging.

Chaco region

Dry chaco

Dry Chaco vegetation © M. Peña Chocarro.

The Chaco region is divided into:

  • the Dry Chaco, an area with very irregular and low-intensity rains covered by scrubby xeromorphic forests
  • the Humid Chaco, an area greatly influenced by the Pilcomayo and Paraguay Rivers, and covered by a mosaic of forests, periodically flooded palm savannas dominated by Copernicia alba, and wetlands.

Región Oriental

The región Oriental, in Eastern Paraguay is dominated by the remnants of the Alto Paraná Atlantic Forest and areas covered by savanna vegetation, from grasslands and palm savannas to cerrado forests.