Laguna Merin, Uruguay – Yann Arthus-Bertrand Photography
The Laguna Merin basin is located on South America’s Atlantic coast, in a temperate or subtropical zone. It covers about 6 million hectares of which the Western part covers 18% of Uruguay whilst the other half is in Brazil. Its relief is made up of gentle undulations, vast plains in meadows and marshes. The climate there is subtropical and there is between 1.200 and 1.500 mm of rainfall a year. It is one of the country’s richest ecosystems in terms of plant life and wildlife diversity. An immense freshwater lake of about 4.000 km2, the Merin Lagoon, is of fundamental environmental importance. The survival of millions of migratory birds depends on the conservation of these marshes that are part of the Earth’s fifteen main migration routes. For a long time, these meadows rich in biodiversity were only disturbed by ranch livestock grazing but in the past twenty years, attacks on the environment have reached new heights with the development of rice growing. Over the past century, half the Earth’s wetlands have dried up.