Reforestation in Costa Rica

Coast of Corcovado National Park
Coast of Corcovado National Park
Photo: Naturefund

The lowland rainforests of Costa Rica are threatened by grazing and plantation management, poaching and logging. Naturefund, together with the Foundation of the University of Golfito, is protecting an area of 60 hectares and wants to create a green climate bridge between two nature reserves.

Green climate bridge in Costa Rica

In cooperation with the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin, Naturefund wants to support the construction of a rainforest bridge in the south of Costa Rica, which will connect two globally important national parks.

Costa Rica is one of the most stable democracies in Latin America. As early as 1950, the military was abolished and the money was used instead of weapons to build up the health system and for education. In 1970 another unique step was taken: More than ¼ of the country was declared a nature reserve. Despite these many positive figures, there are also dark sides. Drug trafficking has increased dramatically, so that Costa Rica today has to invest more and more money in building up the police force instead of in health and education. The small country also exports coffee, bananas, pineapple and sugar cane, which are often still produced with a lot of pesticides. Similarly, large areas of woodland are cleared for cattle farming and tropical precious woods are cut illegally. Meanwhile, Costa Rica has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.

The Corcovado National Park is located in the south of Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. Covering 42,469 ha, it protects one of the last lowland rainforests in the world and provides habitat for numerous rare species such as jaguar, tapir and harpy. National Geographic describes this national park as a place with the highest biological intensity in the world. Only 80 km and about 2 hours drive away is the Amistad National Park. It is the largest national park in Costa Rica and with its 570,000 ha it reaches all the way to Panama. In this protected area there are mountains, cloud forests and tropical rainforest, which provide habitat for rare species like the great ant-eater, the quetzal bird or one of the famous poison frogs.

Between these two national parks at a distance of 80 km there are still many forest remains, many of which are connected or not far apart. A green climate bridge between the Pacific coast and the highlands can thus decisively promote the exchange of species. Scientists at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and its subsidiary in Golfito recognized decades ago how important such a connection between the two national parks is and founded the Fundacíon Universidad de Golfito (FUdG). Ten years ago, the FUdG leased 225 hectares of rainforest near Corcovado National Park and set up a research station that is used by many international researchers for their research work.

Reforestation with the help of bats

In 2016 Naturefund funded a FUdG research project to investigate whether deforested areas, which had been used as pasture for many years, could be reforested in this region with the help of bats. A good 90% of the bats in Costa Rica eat fruit and naturally distribute the seeds. However, the result of the research project was sobering. The soil in many open pastures no longer has enough mycorrhiza, a bacterial fungus network in the soil that is important for plants, to germinate the seeds of forest trees. But since the contact between Naturefund and the FUdG came about, we have shared the dream of building a green climate bridge between the two national parks.

In a first and large step we want to plant 100,000 trees or protect ancient jungle giants. In doing so, we want to buy remaining rain forest remnants and preserve them for the future. Likewise we want to reforest open and unused pastures with the new afforestation method Dynamic Agroforestry and thus connect the forest residues with each other. Help us with this great dream and plant a tree there for 6 €.


Plant trees now in Costa Rica

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Protecting lowland rainforestin Costa Rica

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