| || The Andes in the south of Neuquén Province are nicknamed “the Argentine Switzerland” because their landscape recalls that of the Alps. This temperate forest is unique in Latin America, and most of it lies in neighboring Chile. Wedged between the Atacama Desert to the north, the pampas to the east, and the ocean to the west, it is a botanical island, displaying a remarkable degree of endemism: almost 90 percent of its plant species grow nowhere else. As well as being highly varied, it is also beautiful in autumn, when the ﬂaming red of the beeches contrasts with the dark green of conifers. But these two countries of southern Latin America have already lost almost half of this woodland. In Argentina, natural forest is often replaced by monoculture of pine or eucalyptus. These plantations are deeply impoverished biologically and, as a result, are vulnerable to illness and other problems. Nevertheless, in some countries they help keep deforestation in check and protect the soil from erosion.
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