25 Years Into Restoring a Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystem in Costa-Rica

Forest in Costa Rica photo

A project of the Ithaca-based Tropical Forestry Initiative aims to restore a tropical rain forest ecosystem that had been clear-cut over 50 years ago in Costa-Rica. In 1993, they started working on worn-out pasture land. "For 50 years the soil had been compacted under countless hooves, and its nutrients washed away. When it rained, Leopold said, the red soil appeared to bleed from the hillsides."

The group planted local species of trees, collecting seeds directly from nearby native flora. Finding those seeds wasn't always easy, and they had to work with the locals: "When a farmer reported a tree producing seeds, Leopold and his wife would ride out on horses to collect the seeds before hungry monkeys beat them to it." But their efforts are bearing fruits and and recent studies show that 100s of species are now present, and some fast-growing species of trees are even averaging 2 meters a year. It might take many more decades for a full restoration, but this is showing that it can be done, and that's something. ::Restoration Of A Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystem Successful On Small-scale. See also ::Costa Rica Leads Latin America in Certified Sustainable Tourism Industry, ::Costa Rica Plants 5 Million Trees to Combat Climate Change

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