One of the last coastal rainforests is located at the pacific coast in southern Costa Rica. It is one of the last refuge for rare and endangered species such as macaws, jaguars and tapirs. But every day some of that rainforest vanishes and leaves the incredible biodiversity Costa Ricas in great danger of vanishing as well.
Costa Rica is a small country in Central America, situated between Nicaragua and Panama. While great parts are declared national parks or other nature reserves, the deforestation rate in Costa Rica is among the highest worldwide. Forest is being cut down to make room for plantations or for cattle, but none of these land uses a sustainable and have to be abandoned after just a few years. The forest will need many more years to recover from this. One of the main problems is the usual distribution of seeds in rainforest. Up to 90 % of all seeds are distributed by birds and bats. But birds and bats don't stay behind when the forest is gone. This is how this vicious circle begins and it ends with the extinction of rare and precious species like the jaguar.
In 2015 Naturefund, the Fundación Universidad de Golfito (FudG) and scientists from the Estación Biológica Donana started a unique reforestation project. We used bats to distribute the seeds among a former meadow (2 hectares) to create new rainforest.
This method was used because many bat species subsist on the fruits of pioneer plants. Pioneer plants are fast growing shrubs or trees, which claim back the open ground rather quickly. After eating the fruit, the seed is defecated and can sprout where it falls. Therefore, bats contribute to the deforestation of rainforest.
To support the local bat population we built and set up artificial bat quarters. The collected faeces can then be distributed among the project area. At the time the first pioneer brushes are covering the land, the altered microclimate allows for big trees to grow. Moreover, other animals are attracted by the offer of different fruits and they, in turn, will distribute the seeds even further and that will start the natural process of forest regeneration. A first success can be seen in Honduras, where Naturefund started a pioneer project in 2007.
Now we try to establish this effective and cost-efficient method in Costa Rica to reforest even more rainforest. Join us and let a bat plant new trees in Costa Rica with your donation of only 6 €!
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