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GSSC Seminar Series
31 January 2023


Book launch “Bosque Nativo”. A collaborative writing project between science, art and a social movement for the protection of the last riparian ecosystems of the La Plata River, Argentina

Vanina Santy (University of Cologne)



This book, published in December 2022 and funded by the GSSC, aims to articulate the historical, natural and cultural values of the southern banks of the La Plata River to a wide readership by focusing on its natural ecosystem: the native forest. Beyond the significant environmental benefits it provides for over 2.000.000 people in the metropolitan region, the native forest encompasses   contradictory and conflictive territories.

Such complexity is anchored in the cultural, political, infrastructural and affective relations between riverside, city and people, enabling a governmental neglect in their planning and exploitation, but also motivating people to campaign against the threats that may destroy them. Historical and current threats include replacing these protected areas by luxury neighbourhoods, sanitary landfills or transferring them to companies for private use. And this implies much more than biodiversity loss: also traditional practices, historical references, legends, and forms of knowledge might disappear forever.

Bosque Nativo is an attempt to rescue these different forms of knowledge through scientific expertise, the reconstruction of the past through oral testimonies of riverside dwellers, and the experiences of those who fight for the native forest.

At this event, Vanina Santy, doctoral candidate at the University of Cologne and editor to Bosque Nativo in collaboration with the social movement struggling to defend the native forests, will give insights into the book production process. Alongside giving an overview over the contents, she will share challenges and successes from the book’s initial conception, the collective way of working and first reactions in the public, media, and other social movements taking part in similar socio-environmental conflicts.


Vanina Santy is a researcher in political ecology and PhD student at the Department of Anthropology, University of Cologne, Germany. Her research focuses on conflict arising from the urban transformation of protected areas in the southern La Plata River Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina). She holds a Master's degree in Social and Political Anthropology from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO). She worked for more than fifteen years in both the public and private sectors in Argentina as a communications specialist. She was also an advisor to non-profit organisations in Argentina in the field of institutional capacity building and management. She has published essays, articles and book chapters in Latin America (CLACSO, UNLP,  Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana México) and the United States (American Anthropologist).