Virginia Morales Olmos visited her home country, Uruguay, during the end of the summer. She had the opportunity to join the professors of the Center for Forest Business, Mr. Bob Izlar and Dr. Jacek Siry, who were visiting the country invited by the National Institute for Agricultural and Farming Research (INIA). This tour was a great opportunity for her to meet people in the Uruguayan forestry sector. They started the tour in the capital, Montevideo, meeting with officers from the University of Republic (U de la R), the largest university of the country. The U de la R team is starting a project in the Northern region of Uruguay, where they are going to build a University campus, aimed at offering new majors, including Forestry Engineering that will be the first of its kind in the country. Officers from the University were very interested on sharing their project with the professors from the Warnell School of Forestry.
Mr. Izlar, Dr. Siry, and Virginia traveled with INIA Forest Director, Dr. Roberto Scoz, to Tacuarembó, the largest state of the country located in the Northern region. Traditionally, the main economic activity in this area has been livestock production, but forestry has increased its participation after the Forestry Law of 1988 was passed. There, the three of them presented at a seminar on Forest Economics organized by INIA and the U de la R. Mr. Izlar and Dr. Siry presented on the Marketization of Forest Products and Environmental Services. Virginia presented the results of her MS research, and her current ongoing PhD research. Her presentation was featured on the Forest Producers Society website here (http://www.spf.com.uy/noticias/analisis-sobre-el-impacto-de-la-ley-forestal/).
In Rivera, a state on the border with Brazil, they visited URUFOR, one of the most modern hardwood sawmills in South America. URUFOR is owned by a Uruguayan family and it is a vertically integrated firm that owns plantations. They also traveled the state of Tacuarembó, where they visited Weyerhaeuser plantations. They saw both Eucalyptus and Pine trials at age 12, as well as Eucalyptus clones and seedling plantations. Additionally, they visited Riobiabo pine plantations. Riobiabo is a Chilean TIMO that manages Harvard pension funds. Continuing with their travel in the Northwest region of Uruguay, they traveled to Paysandú to visit UPM’s new nursery, located next to a small city called Guichón. This nursery was recently inaugurated and incorporates modern technology to produce Eucalyptus seedlings. Finally, they travelled to Fray Bentos to visit the ultra-modern UPM eucalyptus pulp mill. Fray Bentos is located on the river border with Argentina and used to have a very important meat processing industry, which was closed in the late 1970s. It was very interesting to see the impact of the new forest investments in the city and in the region and Virginia is very grateful to Mr. Izlar and Dr. Siry for being able to join them on this tour in Uruguay.