Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi). It is located in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, and is elevated 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above the sea level.The Salar is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar. (So flat that it is used to calibrate Earth observation satelittes' altimeters!)
The Salar is virtually devoid of any wild life and vegetation. The latter is dominated by giant cacti. They grow at a rate of about 1 centimeter (0.39 in) per year to a length of about 12 meters (39 ft) (We're talking about 1,200 years old cacti!). Also present are quinoa plants and quenua bushes. Every November, Salar de Uyuni is the breeding grounds for pink South American flamingos. Andean fox (culpeo) is a representative animal, and the "islands" of Salar (in particular the Incahuasi island, which is also called Isla del Pescadores. I’ll post a picture of it) host a colony of rabbit-like viscachas.
A total of 200 species adapted to the extreme life conditions and a lot of them are endangered.
The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium: 50 to 70% of the world's reserves, which has yet to be extracted and represent a great interest for several international companies. The industrial extraction of Lithium, if it happens, might change theses landscapes for ever, and endanger the local species even more.
This place is an enormous ecological challenge.