Paraná

Waterfalls in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest.  rel=
Waterfalls in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest.
© WWF-Canon
The Paraná River in south central South America, runs through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina over a course of some 2,570 kilometers. It is second in size only to the Amazon River among South American rivers.

The Paraná along with its tributaries creates a massive watershed that spreads throughout much of the south central part of the continent, essentially encompassing all of Paraguay, much of southern Brazil, northern Argentina, and even reaching into Bolivia.

The Parana River delta is a huge forested marshland about 32 kilometres  northeast of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Much of the length of the Paraná is navigable and is used as an important waterway linking inland cities in Argentina and Paraguay to the ocean, providing deep water ports in many of these cities.

The construction of massive hydroelectric dams along the river's length has blocked its use as a shipping corridor to cities further upstream, but the economic impact of those dams is considered to offset this.

Current threats
some fish species (such as the surubí and the sábalo) are commercially important and exploited for massive internal consumption or for export.

More than 90 percent of the energy used by Brazil comes from hydropower, the greater part of which is generated by dams on the Paraná River and its tributaries.1

The Itaipu Dam, on the Paraná River, is the largest in the world and flooded approximately 100,000 ha of land, and destroyed significant aquatic habitat including the Guaíra Falls.
Paraná River watershed.  / ©: Revenga, C., S. Murray, J. Abramovitz, and A. Hammond, 1998. Watersheds of the World: Ecological Value and Vulnerability. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.
Paraná River watershed.
© Revenga, C., S. Murray, J. Abramovitz, and A. Hammond, 1998. Watersheds of the World: Ecological Value and Vulnerability. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute.
Countries
Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina

Basin population
over 100 million

Size
2,582,704 km2

Length
2,570 km

Key species
The only species of lungfish found in the Neotropics - Lepidosiren paradoxa, inhabits these waters. Two well-known piranha species, Serrasalmus spilopleura and S. marginatus, occur here as well.

Livelihood facts
Fisheries, shipping, hydropower

Related links
Sources

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