Atacama-Sechura Deserts | WWF

Atacama-Sechura Deserts

About the Area

This ecoregion, comprised of the Atacama and Sechura deserts, forms a continuous strip of desert for almost 3,500 km (1,300 miles) along the coast of Chile and Peru. It features some of the driest areas in the world, some of which receive essentially no rain.
Nevertheless, this ecoregion contains approximately 1300 species of plants of which 60 per cent of Atacama and 40 per cent of Sechura plants are endemic, with only 68 species found in both regions.

Local Species
The Atacama-Sechura Deserts ecoregion has distinctive desert plants, particularly ferns, cone-bearing plants, cacti, and flowering plants that survive by absorbing moisture from fog and dew.

Recently discovered rare and endemic plant species include members of the Copiapoa genus, Griselinia carlomunozii, and Tillandsia tragophoba. Guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and Sea lions (Otaria byronia) are some of the characteristic mammals.

Birds include three endemic finches: Slender-billed finch (Xenospingus concolor), Great Inca-finch (Incaspiza pulchra), and Raimondi's yellow-finch (Sicalis raimondi), and the endemic Pied-crested tit-tyrant (Anairetes reguloides).

Urbanisation, mining, pollution, road construction, livestock grazing, fuelwood collection, commercial plant collection, and erosion constitute the major threats to this ecoregion.


290,000 sq. km (112,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Deserts and Xeric Shrublands

Geographic Location:
Pacific Coast of South America: Chile and Peru

Conservation Status:

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