under UPM’s protection in Uruguay
The rich flora and fauna in UPM’s forestry site Esteros y Algarrobales del Rio Uruguay (Mafalda) makes it a very special area. As the land owner,UPM is actively promoting the protection of wildlife living on the site.
UPM started its forestry operations in Uruguay some 25 years ago. Since then the company has systematically developed methods for maintainingbiodiversity in its eucalyptus plantations.
Biological surveys conducted in the 90s revealed the flora and fauna and some ecosystems in Mafalda were quite remarkable. For example, there are approximately 700 species of flora living in the region that represent around 25% of flora found in the whole country. However, the invaluable natural site was previously over-exploited due to agriculture and cattle grazing. This sparked an initiative that is the basis for all UPM’s conservation work in Uruguay still today.
In Uruguay plantations are established on degraded grasslands created by historic farming. UPM is mapping and protecting these grasslands. All native forests are protected by law and the species that live within them are conserved. There is no forest clearance as in most tropical and subtropical countries.
UNIQUE CORPORATE INITIATIVE
As a large land owner, UPM promotes voluntary nature conservation and protected areas that become part of UPM’s biodiversity programme all over the world.
In Mafalda the size of the protected areas has grown steadily during the last 25 years, rising from 1,000 hectares up to 1,550 hectares nowadays.
In order to establish the conservation work officially, UPM presented a proposal to the Environmental Ministry of Uruguay that Mafalda should be included as a part of the national system of protected areas (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas, SNAP). The agreement was finally concluded in October 2016.
“This was the very first time that a private company has managed a protected area here in Uruguay,” says Ivan Grela,UPM Forestal Oriental’s Head of Environment.
Currently UPM is developing the infrastructure of the site to allow visitors such as locals, students, authorities and experts to research and enjoy the nature of the region. UPM is also promoting a new working culture in Uruguay by collaborating with stakeholders and NGOs to manage the area.
“Mafalda is an important showcase for us to demonstrate that it is possible to protect nature and run successful forest operations in the same zone,” Grela explains.
UPM’s global biodiversity programme has been created by the company’s forest ecologists and sustainable forestry experts together with external experts. The aim is to maintain and increase biodiversity in forests as well as to promote best practice in sustainable forestry and wood sourcing. In total over 120,000 hectares of UPM’s forests worldwide have been protected as valuable habitats
UPM - FINLANDIA - 20 octubre 2017