The traditional wealth of Argentina lies in the vast Pampas, which are used for extensive grazing and grain production. However, Argentine timber and mineral resources, especially offshore deposits of petroleum and natural gas, have assumed increasing importance.
The indigenous vegetation of Argentina varies greatly with the different climates and geographic regions of the country.
The warm and moist northeastern area supports tropical plants, including such trees as the palm, rosewood, lignum vitae, jacaranda, and red quebracho. Grasses are the principal variety of indigenous vegetation in the Pampas.
Trees, excluding such imported drought-resistant varieties as the eucalyptus, sycamore, and acacia, are practically nonexistent in this region and in most of Patagonia. The chief types of vegetation in Patagonia are herbs, shrubs, grasses, and brambles.
In the Andean foothills of Patagonia and parts of Tierra del Fuego, however, conifers—notably fir, cypress, pine, and cedar—flourish. Cacti and other thorny plants predominate in the arid Andean regions of northwestern Argentina.
Argentina’s animal life is most diverse and abundant in the northern part of the country. Mammals here include monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, and raccoons.
Indigenous birds include the flamingo and various hummingbirds and parrots. The Pampas have armadillos, foxes, martens, wildcats, hare, deer, American ostriches (rheas), hawks, falcons, herons, plovers, and partridges; some of these animals are also found in Patagonia.
The cold Andean regions are the habitat of llamas, guanacos, vicuñas, alpacas, and condors. Fish abound in coastal waters, lakes, and streams. © "Argentina" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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