La Reserva Forest Foundation

La Reserva Forest Foundation is a Costa Rican non-profit, tax exempt foundation working to restore and preserve native tropical forests, dedicated to creating "tree bridges" linking isolated forest islands using volunteers and the local school communities, and fighting global warming through various carbon neutral projects.
Apr 22, 2014

Growing, Growing, Growing!

Bienvenido next to an Ylang Ylang, planted in 2011
Bienvenido next to an Ylang Ylang, planted in 2011

I was going through the pics I have stored on my iPhone recently and was astounded at the stages of growth for this project. Have a look for yourself in this report.  

Thank you for being generous in supporting this project. It’s been a work in progress for more than 2 1/2 years and together we have planted over 35,000 native trees in a continuous corridor along the Rio Sol. The river travels, snakelike, through all three Maleku villages or Palenques and the trees are planted along the banks from 10 to 15 meters wide.  

It all began when Sole Technology, the makers of etnies Shoes and other great sports gear, contacted us in 2010 to inform us that the board of directors and CEO of the company had voted unanimously to donate $17,500 to buy the 35,000 trees that would be planted with the Maleku indigenous tribe. Pierre Andres Senizergues, founder and CEO of etnies, is an ex-world champion skateboarder and we have remained friends ever since the first tree was planted. Frequently, when I post updates about LRFF or about the Rio Sol project, he will write to say “keep up the good work”. 

Last month I sent the photos you see here to Pierre after he wrote one of these notes asking if I had any photos of “our” projects development. He was astounded by the before and after photos of the Viento Fresco property and happy to see his old friend Bienvenido, President of the Maleku Tribal Council. In fact he was so impressed he told his art director who contacted me last week asking me to send the photos to him so they can include them in their latest catalog. The donations from etnies was promoted by the company as a campaign called “Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree”. The idea is to let the customers see how great the trees they planted are doing. 

Pierre’s life story is an amazing account of a poor guy finding his passion, skateboarding, dedicating his whole life to it, traveling across the sea to California, becoming the world champion skateboarder and, after retiring, founding Sole Technology. Even his company is solar powered, check out the link to read about Pierre Andrea and his responsible company. 

Thank you all for accompanying us on this great journey, there is still more to come. But until then…

Let’s Get Planting!!

Bienvenido and yours truly
Bienvenido and yours truly
Viento Fresco, 2011 planting time, see the house?
Viento Fresco, 2011 planting time, see the house?
2013 - Same view @ Viento Fresco 2 yrs. later
2013 - Same view @ Viento Fresco 2 yrs. later
Panorama of Viento Fresco 2013
Panorama of Viento Fresco 2013
Rio Sol Bio Corridor, January 2014, 2 1/2 yrs
Rio Sol Bio Corridor, January 2014, 2 1/2 yrs

Links:

Apr 7, 2014

The Maleku Wait

Rio Celeste, the turquoise river
Rio Celeste, the turquoise river

We had a distinguished visitor in March, Ron Jones. Ron learned about La Reserva almost a year ago and contacted us, interested in partnering with us to help plant even more trees. All of our contact was via internet and it wasn't until the end of February that he was able to make the trip to Costa Rica from Florida to meet us face to face. 

I took Ron all over the area showing him the projects we have planted to date and our crowning glory, the one that I am most proud of, the Rio Sol Biological Corridor. This project, "38 Hectares of Valuable Resources for the Maleku", was part of the Rio Sol project because we reforested the remaining 14 hectares of Marvin's farm still in pasture. The other 28 hectares are covered with a majestic, primary forest, are at the headwaters of the Rio Sol and also the "spring" or source of all the potable water flowing down to the three Maleku villages. 

On the day we visited, before meeting with the Maleku Tribal Council in the afternoon, we went out to check on the nurseries for the next project we will plant when the rainy season begins. It's 6000+ trees in a continuous biological corridor on two different farms owned by Elias Cruz. The project was posted on Global Giving, "For The Monkeys" but was fully funded by our corporate sponsor Strack Premium Transportation. You can see in the photos how the nurseries look, lots of trees and lots of work went into creating the shady bower for the baby tree's protection. 

On the way back to meet with the Tribal Council we drove over the Rio Celeste and Ron thought the river was contaminated because of the bright blue color. He was amazed that it was naturally turquoise and shared a photo with us from the bridge.

Speaking with the Tribal Council secretary and treasurer, Emigdio Cruz and Alfredo Acosta, respectively, Ron wanted to know how we can help the tribe, what are their needs and biggest issues. I mentioned that from the very beginning, when we first contacted them, the Maleku have said they want their decreed territory returned to them however possible and when returned they would partner with LRFF to reforest 2/3's of it. The governement of Costa Rica decreed 3000 hectares as Maleku territory in 1976 but to date have not expropriated the lands owned by the non-indigenous landowners. This is still their biggest issue and that's what this project is all about. 

Because LRFF is founded  on only "positive action" the best solution we could come up with is to attempt to buy some of the lands back via donations from people around the world who understand and appreciate the plight of this tribe. Then, hopefully, after buying back a couple of farms the government will be exposed and pressured into doing whatever is necessary to return this small portion of the Maleku's original 60,000 hectares to them. Marvin wants to sell, is begging to sell the property! This is our chance...if we can come up with even part of the full amount needed we can probably bargain with Marvin and get the first farm back to the people who truly own it. 

One of Elias Cruz
One of Elias Cruz's nurseries
Elias second nursery, 5000 trees "For the Monkeys"
Elias second nursery, 5000 trees "For the Monkeys"
Rancho of Alfredo Acosta, Maleku Tribal Council
Rancho of Alfredo Acosta, Maleku Tribal Council
Tribal Council Meeting
Tribal Council Meeting

Links:

Mar 24, 2014

A Recent Visit to the Area

Planting day Rio Piedras, June 2009
Planting day Rio Piedras, June 2009

     LRFF had a distinguished visitor the first week of March, Ronald Jones. Ron contacted us almost one year ago wanting to know about our organization, the projects we have implemented and plan to implement (like this one), he was especially interested in the "payments for environmental" services model LRFF uses as an incentive for landowners to partner with us and reforest small parts of their farms.   

     I drove Ron to all of the projects in the area that we have replanted in the last 4 years. One in particular really blew our mind...over in Rio Piedras, we planted in June 2009. My eyes must have bugged out of my head because where once was old, unproductive, sickly cow pasture is now a multi-species forest. See the photo! He was amazed like everyone at how quickly the forests return in the tropical environment. 

     We traveled to Guatuso one full day and drove past the "Reforesting the Deforestation" project property. LRFF also has another project of 15 hectares with six different landowners in the same area, "Restoring Forests to Guatuso". Our destination was Upala where Elias Cruz is reforesting a six hectare biological corridor "For The Monkeys" on parts of two different farms. We needed to inspect his tree nurseries because this project will be planted when the rainy season comes, July or June. This project is a Global Giving success story like so many of our projects because it was partially funded by generous donors via GG and through that exposure Strack Premier Transportation in Los Angeles, California found us and funded the rest of the project. 

     Ron and I also met with the Maleku Tribal Council, saw the Rio Sol Biological Corridor project where 35,000 trees (more than 100 native species) were planted in a continuous corridor along the river that passes through all three Maleku villages. On the ride back from the nurseries we passed over Rio Celeste and Ron thought the river was contaminated but we explained that's why it's callled Rio Celeste because of it's incredible turqoiuse blue color. The photo below is downriver from the famous waterfalls where the waters are dark turqoise blue from the sulphur content. 

     By the time Ron left he pledged to work/partner with LRFF in Costa Rica to help us plant 1,000,000 trees in the next 7 years. This project, 42,000 trees, will be the first one we implement if all of our plans come to fruition. You can continue to help us out, don't wait, by sharing this report and the project link with your friends and family. Give us a shout out on Face and Twitter, we are making a difference entirely from donations that go directly into planting trees. So come on...

LET"S GET PLANTING!

March 2014, see the house? Rio Piedras same area
March 2014, see the house? Rio Piedras same area
Traditional Maleku Upal (rancho)
Traditional Maleku Upal (rancho)
Maleku Council meeting in the rancho
Maleku Council meeting in the rancho
Entrance to the Maleku indigenous peoples reserve
Entrance to the Maleku indigenous peoples reserve
One of Elias Cruz
One of Elias Cruz's nursery
Rio Celeste
Rio Celeste

Links:

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