Story | 04/27/2023 07:24:18 | 4 min Read time

Forest Action: UPM biodiversity monitoring programme with remarkable discoveries in Uruguay

In Uruguay, the conservation of biodiversity is key to UPM’s strategy, and is mainstreamed in four key dimensions: (1) Management of diverse landscapes, with provision of multiple ecosystem services, (2) Identification and conservation of valuable habitats, (3) Identification and conservation of flora and fauna priority species for conservation, focusing on endangered species and on those that are not represented in the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP), and (4) Control of the invasion of natural ecosystems by exotic species, particularly woody species, to maintain the environmental value of these ecosystems.

UPM Uruguay has detected both nationally and worldwide unknown species, identified sites of high conservation value, enriched national biological collections, contributed to valuable information used by the Uruguayan National System of Protected Areas (SNAP), and collected extensive amounts of nature-related information over time.

33 new species in the Uruguayan flora

Significant concentrations of biodiversity were recorded in environmental studies, including relevant species at the regional and national levels, whether endemic (i.e., native only to Uruguay), rare, threatened, or endangered. Particularly noteworthy are the findings of species that were unknown in the Uruguayan flora until then, and that were identified at UPM properties.

A total of 33 species were identified for the first time in Uruguay’s flora by UPM. At the same time, a worldwide unknown species was detected, which was published in a specialised scientific magazine under the scientific name Antyphythum charruasorum. The UPM biodiversity monitoring programme has supported the update of old records or those with very inaccurate information on location or environment. As an example of the current lists of vascular plants for conservation, 140 species are included for UPM biodiversity monitoring programme with remarkable discoveries in Uruguay which precise population location data were not available. Thanks to the greater amount of field work undertaken by UPM, 23 of those species now have georeferenced populations.

Protecting delicate ecosystems

As a result of the increased intensity of sampling and collection, the list of native species of the Uruguayan flora has been considerably increased. It includes species with diverse types of growth, such as woody plants, herbaceous plants, cacti, ferns, and the like. The work carried out by UPM also contributed to the enrichment of the collections deposited in national herbaria (scientific collections of dried plant specimens). The number of specimens obtained from UPM´s properties that have enriched the herbarium collections of the Faculty of Agronomy and the Botanical Garden of Montevideo exceeds 6,000. About 100,000 ha of UPM owned land remain in their natural state in Uruguay as grasslands, shrublands, wetlands, native forests, palm groves, and sandbanks and dunes. These house flora and fauna species typical of each of these ecosystems and include many of their eco-regional variations thanks to the dispersion of the UPM sites in the country.

In addition to monitoring biodiversity, UPM Uruguay is looking into restoration: management and recovery of areas, including identifying certain areas within multiple degraded ecosystems existing in the country. Some cases include, for example, the recovery of the Yatay palm (Butia yatay) population in northwest Uruguay (Paysandú department) and of the carob forests and alkaline areas that are currently part of the protected area Esteros y Algarrobales del Río Uruguay.

– Over the last 30 years, the business has evolved and the processes we use have changed. Today, we work with the best available technology, much more high-tech than we could have envisioned. We are on an entirely new level, on all accounts, today. This helps us leave behind a better world for future generations, states Alvaro Fitipaldo, the Director of Forestry Operations in UPM Uruguay.

 

Watch Alvaro Fitipaldo’s full interview

Read more about the UPM Forest Action programme

Download the Forest Action report

 

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