Tucuman Model Forest

Country: Argentina
Location: Northwest Region of Argentina, Tucuman Province.
Year joined IMFN: 2008
Area: 180 000 ha
Regional affiliation: Ibero-American Model Forest Network
Contact information:

Email: tucuman@imfn.net

Forest profile and resources

This province, located about 1300 km north of Buenos Aires, is known as the Garden of the Country and is physically and for all practical purposes the entrance to the Argentinian North. The Tucuman Model Forest (BMT) area borders the Sali River on the east, the Colorado River on the south, the northern edge of the Tapia Basin on the north and the Tafi Mountains y Calchaquies Mountains on the west. Thus, it completely encompasses the Lules River Basin, the southern area of the Tapia River Basin, and the northern side of the Colorado River Basin.

The BMT features, in its 180 000 ha area, a wide variety of natural and man-made landscapes, over an altitudinal gradient ranging from 350 to 4500 m above sea level. Within the BMT there are some important cities of the province such as San Miguel de Tucuman, which is the capital of the province, Yerba Buena and Tafi Viejo, together they comprise an urban agglomeration of more than 900 000 people.

A subtropical climate prevails in the region, with a dry season from May to August. Summers are warm and humid and winters are temperate and dry. There are significant forest areas belonging to the subtropical mountain rainforest or Yungas, which is one of the most biodiversed environments in Argentina.

A part of the Chaqueño Forest, an emblematic environment thanks to the presence of high forest value species is also found here. Within the BMT there is the Sierra de San Javier Park (PSSJ), a protected area created in 1973 and managed by the Tucuman National University. The PPSJ is one of the most important protected areas of Tucuman. It fulfills some vital roles for a large number of people by providing stability to the basins, the continued existence of the forest and its wildlife, the supply of water for consumption and productive activities that take place in a large sector of the Tucuman plains.

In the past, the region was home to three different indigenous nations: the Diaguitas Calchaquies, the Tonocotes y the Lules and Vilelas. These were nomadic hunting and gathering tribes. In the last 100 years a melting pot of races of different origin (European, Middle East, etc.) began another process culminating in the late 19th century with the reactivation of the local development by the sugar and tobacco agroindustries. Thus, the capitalist economy produces new changes to land property. Currently there are no ethnic groups recognized as such, however, three of them have initiated the appropriate legal proceedings to pursue such status.

Economic profile

The labor force accounts for 51.73% of people over 14 years of age (National Population and Housing Census, 1991), broken down as follows: workers or employees: 57.01%, self-employed people or employers: 28.66%, home help service: 8.72%, and family workers without steady income: 5.62%. With regard to education, it is estimated that 92.05% of the population over 3 years old has completed or is receiving some sort of education.

The area occupied by the BMT produces hundreds of hectares of sugar cane and citrus fruits, positioning the sector as the major national producer of these industries. The Municipality of Lules, a national producer of strawberries and blueberries, and the communities of San Pablo, Villa Nougues, Raco and San Javier, are also part of the Model Forest. These are rural sectors where agricultural workers, traditionally with a subsistence economy, strive to achieve a better quality of life.


The initial group of entities is formed by those who have maintained a certain degree of continuity along the entire process:

  • Secretariat of the Environment of the Province (the highest enforcement authority of the province on environmental issues. Secretary and Deputy Secretary)
  • The Honorable Legislature of the Province (vital entity for standard proposals). President of the Commission on Environmental Issues)
  • Directorate of the Environment of Tucuman Province (responsible for dealing with environmental impact studies. Director and technicians)
  • Directorate of Wildlife Species and Soil of the Province (an strategic entity that participated in the initial management of the BMT. Director and technicians)
  • Mining Directorate (an important entity regarding the use of soil aggregates. It recently joined the BMT. Technician)
  • Provincial Housing and Urban Development Institute (responsible for the development of neighbourhoods for housing which is generally for low-income groups. Technicians)
  • Yerba Buena Municipality (known as the Garden City, it is the buffer zone between the Capital and the mountain ranges and the place of residence of the main decision makers. Mayor, Secretaries, Directors, Advisors and Technicians. Residents. Business people. ONGs)
  • Honorable Municipal Council of Yerba Buena (it represents the legislative power of municipal councillors)
  • Lules Municipality (historical municipality of Tucuman, producer of strawberries, blueberries and lemons. Mayor, Coordinator, Secretary, Directors, Advisor. Residents. Producers)
  • Tafi Viejo Municipality (it began as a summer resort and eventually became the major construction workshop for the Railroad. It is also known as the lemon capital because it contributes a major portion to the provincial production of this citrus fruit. Technicians. Teachers, Residents. ONGs)
  • San Pablo Community (site of a former sugar mill; it is currently an agricultural area, growing mainly lemons. Community delegate. Technicians. Residents. ONGs)
  • San Javier Community (summer resort and site of the university facilities, including the Sierra de San Javier Park, a protected area of BMT. Residents. Delegate. Technicians from the Province and Community. ONGs)
  • San Javier Community Integration Center (CIC) (a community organization with a coordination and wide-ranging social work committee).
  • Talitas Community (it is the youngest municipality of the province. It has almost 70,000 people and complex environmental problems), particularly the Sali River. Municipal officials. Residents. ONGs)

Strategic goals

The overall objective of the BMT is the “Planning and adaptive management for the sustainable development of the areas of the Lules River basins, the Tapia River southern basin and the Colorado River northern basin”. The goal of the BMT is to develop a general plan and, at the same time, work with the local communities on specific issues. The BMT's strategies, objectives and lines of action that have been established clearly reflect such goal. In order to achieve the overall goal, a set of lines of actions has been grouped under the following themes: Environment, Social, Land-use planning, Education, Productive Sector and Scientific field.