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May 2024

Native Forest Riverside Ecosystems of the La Plata River: Digital Gallery at the Nexus of Science, Activism and Indigeneity

Native Forest Riverside Ecosystems of the La Plata River: Digital Gallery at the Nexus of Science, Activism and Indigeneity

This virtual photographic exhibition is based on the book Native Forest. Riverside Ecosystems of the La Plata River released in December 2022 by the publishing house Hora Mágica in Argentina and funded by the Global South Studies Center (GSSC) of the University of Cologne, Germany.

csm GSSC Seminar 2023 1 Santy cc79a49a89
Vanina Santy presented her book “Bosque Native” (The Native Forest) in the GSSC Seminar Series in early 2023.

Roughly a year after presenting her new book in the GSSC Seminar Series, the collective collaboration that made the book possible (the Neighbourhood Assembly “No to the Surrender of the Quilmes-Avellaneda Coast” fighting for the conservation of the southern banks of the La Plata River together with researchers and academics in Argentina and Germany) continues to register and denounce its growing destruction. This artistic and scientific production, also subsidised by the GSSC, is part of this tireless work, and aims to demonstrate that only working for a common purpose can bring about social change.

Indeed, it is not only these forests and wetlands that are under threat, but above all the urban life around them. Deforestation, illegal filling of protected areas and streams as well as air and soil pollution impact on the environmental services that this territory provides to more than 2,000,000 people in the metropolitan region of Buenos Aires. Those who suffer the most in this environmental sacrifice area – after decades of public policies and municipal decisions rearranging the territory – are the thousands of residents who live along the river and resist the disappearance of their traditional way of life.

This situation is aggravated in the current context of Global Environmental Change, in which maritime coasts and riverside areas are proving to be the focus of unprecedented extreme weather events, fires and heat waves. 

Hence the need to make the natural and protected areas of the districts of Avellaneda and Quilmes better known, along with their environmental benefits, in order to generate more widespread knowledge and awareness of the value of this ecosystem, and in doing so, to show the environmental, political, economic and social complexities of the territory in combination with its beauty, and to highlight the difficult living conditions there and the hope of many to protect this place.

Through art and a narrative produced and shared by people from different disciplines and fields of knowledge and with different experiences, this project aspires to convey the importance of native forests and what they mean for their inhabitants and those who defend them.


Santy, V. 2022. Native Forest. Riverside Ecosystems of the La Plata River. Hora Magica. Link

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Noah Kahindi

Global South Studies Center (GSSC)
Classen-Kappelmann-Straße 24
50931 Cologne, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)221 47076657

E-mail: noah.kahindi@uni-koeln.de