Yes, we’re doubling down here at LRFF, meaning we have more than twice the amount of trees to plant in 2012 as we did in 2011. With all of the new projects we’ve been scouting and developing since January we now have a total of 70 hectares to reforest or 70,000 trees to plant. Our total for last year on the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project was 35,000.
Restoring Forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica is the first project we’ve developed this year. There are 6 different landowners participating with a total of 15 hectares (37 acres). All of the properties are in the Guatuso area and two are within the Maleku Reserve. It will replace the native forests that were destroyed in this area between 1960 and 1990 providing a return of habitat for the wildlife that still exist on the fringes of forests that remain, erosion control, climate change mitigation and increased water resources.
Reforesting the Deforestation in Guatuso, Costa Rica is the second project we’ve developed and is available on line to receive donations. Alvaro Jenkins bought this farm in the 1960s and deforested it to create cattle pastures. He has over 1000 hectares (2460 acres) of pastureland and wants to restore 42 hectares to the native forests that stood when he arrived there. The future reforestation area is adjacent to the Caño Blanco wetlands and will connect two existing primary forest strips that Alvaro left when he developed the land.
There is an amazing story that goes with this project. Go to the link above and read the story, it will blow your mind.
Educational Reforestation in La Fortuna is the third project we are developing. It is only ½ hectare but will fill the remainder of the Vida Campesino property with forest and will surround a newly created lake that will encourage waterfowl and other water dependent animals to return. The Gonzalezs have a medicinal plant and organic garden on the property and use the facilities as an educational resource for students from all over Costa Rica.
Rio Sol, Across the River, Palenque Margarita, Guatuso, Costa Rica is our fourth project to be developed this year. The total area of Ever Fonseca’s reforestation area is 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) and it’s located on the other side of the Rio Sol in relation to the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project LRFF planted in 2011 (35,000 trees). When we went with Ever to measure the area to be planted we looked across the river and saw the continuous tree corridor we planted in June last year. This is the first property on the other side of the river.
The fifth and most exciting project has no title as yet but we’re toying with “For the Monkeys, Upala, Costa Rica”. Meet Elias Cruz, our long time friend. You may remember him from 4 years ago when LRFF/CR and Global Climate Strategies traveled by horseback to his forested property near Limon. He and his brother Neftali are forest landowners participating in the forest carbon project we’ve been working to implement since 2008.
Elias and Irene also own two farms near Upala, in the northern zone of Costa Rica, near the Nicaraguan border. Both farms are bordered by rivers and creeks. When we walked the first farm with Elias we were stunned to see Howler Monkeys, Capuchin (white faced) Monkeys and Spider Monkeys all living together in a narrow corridor on Elias side of the river. The other side is pineapple farming as far as the eye can see. He told us he wants to increase the corridor along the river by 10 meters wide and 4000 meters long, along all the perimeter of his farm, increasing the habitat “for the monkeys”. The Spider Monkey is on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. We will also plant a 10 meters-wide and 2000 meters-long corridor on the second farm that follows the river border of the farm. There are Spider Monkeys here as well although we didn’t see them on that day. The total area for reforestation on both farms is 6 hectares (15 acres).
Everyone here on the ground in Costa Rica is excited about these five new projects. Soon we will send you links to the three projects that are pending to see online.
The video of tree development was taken by Melvin Mojica last month at Franklin Mojica’s 4 hectare reforested area. It was planted last June as part of the first stage planting of the Rio Sol Biological corridor. Melvin worked as part of the Rio Sol planting team and you can see him planting in the photo below. Thank you Melvin for your continued involvement in this project.
We are astounded by the growth rate of all the trees planted in the Rio Sol corridor. Each time the maintenance crew comes back around to clean the trees they’ve grown from 1 to 3 meters. Check out the latest photos and see for yourself…….
All of the trees are growing at an amazing rate, even the slow growers. This past week I inspected two of the properties and found even the Rosewood (cocobolo) has grown to more than two meters tall. The maintenance at Franklin Mojica’s 4 hectares and soon a couple of the other areas planted in the first stage is finished, in just one year! Most of the trees are so large there is no worry about the surrounding grasses and vines drowning them. The crew will pass by and spot clean the smaller individuals but the time spent will be minimal. This really helps with the project budget since we always allow for two years maintenance after the trees are planted.
The next photos are of an area planted in the second stage of planting in December 2012. They illustrate how important the maintenance is until the trees are able to surpass the competing vegetation. Before and after cleaning……….
Only three weeks passed from the last maintenance until the “before” photo above was taken. Some of the reforested areas are thick with vines called “chirristate”. They grow super fast, enveloping the tree and eventually pulling it to the ground.
At this point I give praise to my two, most excellent, assistants Jorn Dallinga and Charlotte Hallaways. Jorn has been at LRFF/CR since February and has been extremely helpful with mapping, project design document creation, planting, maintenance, tree identification and carbon project documentation. He even helped Daniel create an orchid walk at Rancho Margot, a big attraction for visitors and residents alike.
Charlotte arrived the first week of May and has taken LRFF/CR to the next level. With her great promotional skills we’ve seen the “reaches” on the LRFF Facebook page go to almost 18,000 this week. More than ever!! She is also working at setting up the LRFF/UK and has made great progress in the past two weeks. She has selected most of the potential board members, received a pledge for required funding the first year and is now ready to create the formal corporation before registering it as a non-profit. On Monday she also proved to be up to the task of fieldwork as I dragged her in the broiling sun across hectares of baby trees during the Rio Sol project inspection. I’m going to miss her terribly when she returns to the UK and am seriously considering keeping her here.
LRFF/CR was invited to participate in the 1st annual Artisan Beer Festival on Earth Day. The place was packed with 15 different brews, from pale ales to cacao ale. That was most interesting, I was in heaven of course, being a great beer lover.
The GREEN (Global Renewable Energy Education Network) student groups have begun to arrive again this year, more than last year. We have had one group of professors and two groups of 20+ students so far. They will be coming almost weekly through August.
This year our friend and field director, Jimmy Acosta, offered to help LRFF out by bringing his Maleku theater group to La Reserva for each of the student groups from GREEN. After the forest walk, a look at a LRFF forest restoration project and a trip to the nursery to pick out a tree to plant everyone assembles at the “stage” for the Maleku drama followed by a try at the bow and arrow. It’s a great experience, don’t miss it.
Because of the project we implemented with the Maleku we were contacted by Jose Morales Martinez about working with other indigenous tribes in Costa Rica on the same type of project. On June 22nd we visited the Cabecar de Chirripo in Granos de Oro near Turrialba. They have 80,000 hectares in their reservation and are interested in participating with LRFF in the same type of reforestation project as the Rio Sol Biological Corridor to restore the native forests on all of their uncultivated lands.
Not only reforestation, they are anxious to also participate in another existing forest carbon project that will include all of the community and privately held forests in the reserve. This will allow the community to earn much needed income from carbon offset sales but individual landholders within the reserve as well. It’s WIN/WIN for everyone!
Traveling through the reserve we took note of the high incidence of forest degradation. Everywhere we looked the immense forests were interrupted by deforested patches. The Cabecar tribe’s territory was divided into two parts in the 1970’s. They are the same tribe but have two separate territories. The Cabecar Bajo Chirripo is the other community whose territory is in the lowlands near Siquirres. Jose made a first contact with this community this week and they want to start working with LRFF and GEG immediately. Really, we’re having a tough time keeping up with these people.
I’d like to finish this massive blog with two animal interest stories you’ll enjoy. Mora the injured, female two-toed sloth who recovered at La Reserva for two months was released in the final week of April. We let her go in an area about 500 meters from LRFF headquarters, where trees like the Guanjiniquil are growing with many tender leaves. She was the first sloth we’ve released that didn’t take off like a jet for the canopy. We finally put her up on a branch, waited and then said goodbye. We haven’t seen her since but that’s good news, eh.
The second story is proof that the “monkey bridges” that we installed in collaboration with ICE work. We’ve seen monkeys, sloths and squirrels using the monkey bridges (puentes para fauna) but never had a camera so that we could share it with you. I leave you with this great video of an entire family crossing one of the bridges installed in 2008 to save the lives of the myriad animals that must cross from one isolated forest to another over highways and electrical cables.
It’s up to us, we can provide for them and in return we shall be provided for so come everyone…………………
LET’S GET PLANTIN’ AND SPREADIN’ SEEDS!!