Alto Paraguay Department

Alto Paraguay (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈalto paɾaˈɣwaj]; Upper Paraguay) is a sparsely populated department of Paraguay. The capital is the town of Fuerte Olimpo.

Alto Paraguay
Flag of Alto Paraguay
Coat of arms of Alto Paraguay
Alto Paraguay in Paraguay.svg
Coordinates: 20°30′S 59°0′W / 20.500°S 59.000°W / -20.500; -59.000Coordinates: 20°30′S 59°0′W / 20.500°S 59.000°W / -20.500; -59.000
Country Paraguay
CapitalFuerte Olimpo
 • GovernorMarlene Graciela Ocampos (ANR)
 • Total82,349 km2 (31,795 sq mi)
 (2002)[citation needed]
 • Total15,008
 • Density0.18/km2 (0.47/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-04 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-03 (ADT)
ISO 3166 codePY-16
Number of Districts2

In 1992, the Chaco Department was merged with Alto Paraguay.

Nature and national parksEdit

The Jaguar inhabits all of Alto Paraguay's national parks

Alto Paraguay contains a varied and large amount of natural resources, which is why this department is home to several national parks, each with different characteristics. The Defensores del Chaco National Park is the largest in the Paraguayan territory. This park is home to the hill Cerro León, which is the highest point in the northern region of Paraguay. The dry terrain is optimal for the growth of various species of cactus. Another park in this department, Parque Nacional Río Negro, is located in an area with several small lakes and is home to most of the fauna in the department. Other national parks in Alto Paraguay are Parque Nacional Coronel Cabrera and Parque Nacional Chovoreca, which reside in dry regions.

Agriculture, livestock and deforestationEdit

Sorghum harvest 2008, Linea 14, Agua Dulce Region
Sugar cane, Linea 14, Agua Dulce Region

Paraguay's largest reserves of undeveloped fertile virgin forest covered land and lowest land prices are found in Alto Paraguay. However, agriculture and cattle farming are starting to make inroads. The fertility of the Chaco's deep sedimentary soils is generally high, except in the westernmost parts, where there are very sandy soils, and in the eastern plain where there are some seasonal wetlands. Annual rainfall is sufficient in the east (around 1200mm), fair in the center (around 900mm) and scarce in the west (around 700mm). A lack of infrastructure and roads is the primary limitation for farmers in the area.

Current agricultural expansion comes at the expense of the area's native forests. During the two decades between 1990 and 2010, Paraguay had one of the highest deforestation rates worldwide. The World Land Trust estimates deforestation in the Paraguay Chaco at over 200.000 hectare for 2008 alone [1]

The department's most important activity by far is cattle ranching, both extensive in the savannas of the east and intensive on the planted pastures of cleared land. Cultivation of sorghum, sugar cane and (in planning stage as of January 2009, for the arid west) jatropha are very recent developments.


The department is divided into five districts:[2]

  1. Bahía Negra
  2. Capitán Carmelo Peralta
  3. Fuerte Olimpo
  4. Puerto Casado
  5. Mayor Pablo Lagerenza

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Deforestation in Paraguay: Over 1500 football pitches lost a day in the Chaco". World Land Trust. 30 November 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  2. ^ Dirección General de Estadística, Encuestas y Censos : Censo : Lista de Áreas de Variables de Personas Retrieved 5 March 2010

External linksEdit