One of AF’s fundamental principles is to preserve and protect the biodiversity in Bosques del Uruguay’s (BDU) farms. We, as forest property managers, assume such responsibility for all those who belong to this community. It is part of our roadmap and forest management plan as well as a requirement to be FSC ® certified.

The Forest Steward Council ® (FSC ®) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible forest management around the world for more than 25 years. The certification is based on 10 principles, which cover legal aspects, community engagement, sustainable soil management, environmental impact, monitoring plans, and several other elements. BDU exceeds the requirements established by the FSC®, as it aims to conserve the biodiversity of its farms for the long term.

One of these requirements is to assess the environments and habitats with biological, ecological, social, or cultural value of outstanding significance which need to be managed specifically to maintain and enhance. These areas contain High Conservation Values (HCVs) and are classified into 6 categories: species diversity (HCV1), landscape-level ecosystems and mosaics (HCV2), ecosystems and habitats (HCV3), ecosystems services (HCV4), community needs (HCV5) and cultural values (HCV6). Bosques del Uruguay I, II, III and IV have 11 farms identified as HCVs, which amount to 1,635 hectares.

William Pedulla and a team of six biologists and botanists, including Juan Carlos Rudolf, Patricia Brussa and Eliana Walker, who also participated in the preparation of this document, are in charge of identifying, managing and monitoring areas with HCVs.

Thanks to the work of that team, numerous species have been recorded while surveying and monitoring the farms for 21 years. In particular, it is outstanding the presence of 227 species of tetrapod fauna as well as the exceptional findings of plants of restricted distribution in the country. Some of them were the first records for the Uruguayan flora.

According to the “Common Guidance for the Identification of High Conservation Values”, HCV1 are concentrations of biological diversity including endemic, rare, threatened, or endangered species that are significant at global, regional, or national levels. In this regard, priority is given to monitoring species included in the list of priority species for conservation in Uruguay, under the protection of the National System of Protected Areas (SNAP, for is acronym in Spanish). These species are those that meet any of the criteria and categories of threat, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, as well as those included in the lists of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


Margay, South American Brown Brocket, common Lizard and Neotropical River Otter are some of the species found in the farms of Bosques del Uruguay in the last 21 years. Besides, a total of 227 species (21 amphibians, 24 reptiles, 167 birds and 15 mammals) have been identified there. Although these are highly dynamic communities, it is encouraging that 168 species have been preserved over time. There have also been temporary absences and new species have been found.

Wildlife monitoring on the farms is carried out annually and uses camera traps, among other methods, to record the presence of the species. The objective of these fauna surveys is to analyze the evolution of natural environments rather than to make exhaustive lists, as there are more species to be discovered. In the last annual survey, 32 unrecorded species were identified, including 3 species classified as “with conservation issues”.

On the other farms surveyed, a high specific richness was also observed, including species “with conservation issues”, in many cases inhabiting natural environments of limited extension, which, although they cannot be identified as HCVs, it establishes new conservation areas which have to be cared for.

Juan Carlos Rudolf, Senior Biologist in charge of fauna monitoring, pointed out that: “The fauna surveys carried out in forestry farms have made a substantial contribution to biodiversity. Although it is a production based on the cultivation of exotic species, the studies carried out have made it possible to influence planting designs, the exclusion of agriculture in areas of environmental value, and their subsequent management and care.” He added: “The main problems for the conservation of biodiversity are the environmental fragmentation, the replacement of natural with exotic environments, and the development of the extraction of natural resources”. Based on the surveys, the aim is to minimize the impact of these aspects, especially considering the conservation of representative samples of all the environments of the farms, defining biological connections that avoid the isolation of the populations represented, and restricting the possibilities of access and activities such as hunting, extraction and wildfires.”


While working on HCVs, native flora species considered unique for different reasons were discovered:

  • Grazielia brevipetiolata: endemic shrub species, native to the eastern hills of Uruguay. There are no previous reports of this species in other floras of the region. The only record of this species for the department of Florida was found in a BDU farm.
  • Hypericum piriai: species with restricted distribution in Uruguay and the region. The first record for the department of Florida was found in a BDU farm, and represents the westernmost known location in the world.
  • Dicksonia sellowiana: fern species rarely found in the country, with populations threatened by poaching both in Uruguay and the region. A population of this species was found in a BDU farm, in the department of Cerro Largo. Management practices carried out by the company allowed a considerable increase in the number of this species after five years of livestock exclusion.
  • Frailea fulviseta: small-sized cactus, recorded for the first time in the country, in a BDU farm, in the department of Cerro Largo.
  • Pityrogramma calomelanos var. aureoflava: fern species recorded in a BDU farm, in the department of Cerro Largo. It represents the only known record to date in Uruguay.
  • Piper gaudichaudianum: its only known record for the country is located in different areas of a BDU farm, which combines ecosystems that are poorly represented at the local level, such as the ravines and swamp forests of the northeast of Cerro Largo.
  • Eryngium dorae: herbaceous plant present in continental dunes, an ecosystem that has suffered from disturbances at the local level. This species has few records for Uruguay, however, a population was found in a BDU farm, in the department of Tacuarembó.
  • Lomaridium plumieri: fern species scarcely recorded in the country, with a very large population in a BDU farm, in the department of Cerro Largo.
  • Frailea phaeodisca: small-sized cactus. The first record of a population of this species was found in a BDU farm, in the department of Treinta y Tres.
  • Parodia scopa ssp. marchesii: endemic cactus native to Uruguay, with a population located in a BDU farm, in the department of Treinta y Tres.
  • Frailea buenekeri: small-sized cactus. Its only known record to date is found in conservation areas (not HCV) located in a BDU farm, in the department of Lavalleja.

Most of these species are included in the list of priority plant species for conservation in Uruguay. Others were recorded in the country after the list was prepared. However, they deserve to be included in future evaluations because of their restricted distribution in our country.

When such a species is identified, measures are taken to monitor actual or potential threats. Domestic livestock is an example of these threats. The regulation of livestock grazing in the fields and forests, and in some cases its complete exclusion in BDU farms as a conservation measure, has been successful and has allowed the populations of Grazielia brevipetiolata and Dicksonia sellowiana to be maintained.

As part of the management measures carried out in HCV areas, the populations of species of conservation concern, such as those previously mentioned, are monitored annually.

The company’s conservation areas are home to a wide diversity of plant species. In particular, it is worth noting the presence of approximately one third of the total fern flora recorded in the country, many of them considered a priority for conservation, in a BDU farm with HCV, located in the department of Cerro Largo.

These survey and monitoring works, carried out by Mr. Carlos A. Brussa, Agricultural Engineer, until 2019 and continued by Ms. Patricia Brussa and Ms. Eliana Walker, made important contributions to the Uruguayan flora knowledge, since emphasis is made on the herborization of specimens in the field and subsequent storage in national herbarium. Therefore, other scientists can consult those samples, verify their identification and carry out further studies.