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 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:

Feb 11, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO MOTHER EARTH

Planting Goddesses, yours truly and my sisters
Planting Goddesses, yours truly and my sisters

Thanks to you and others like you this project is almost funded again. Just since our last progress report almost $500 were donated to the project. Only $600 left and we will be ahead of the game. We will be able to pay Mariano and his little family the payments for environmental services they are earning by preserving that precious forest on the shore of Lake Arenal.

Every other year we’ve had to pay Mariano for his conservation services after the fact. It just goes to show how the worldview and priorities are changing since we founded LRFF over nine years ago.

A founding principle of our organization is positive action and thought. Action for me is the key word. Lots of other organizations do a lot of talking and even protesting…are environmental activists but their actions are based on negativity, resistance to what is.

You will only find us participating in positive action, that means if someone is cutting a tree down anywhere in the world we are planting trees in another place to more than make up for the negativity.

Check out the photos of our most recent positive action, the planting of over 500 trees on January 31st with an all girl/woman crew. We called it the “goddess” planting. The link is a video of my friend Nicida demonstrating how to plant a tree the Maleku way. LRFF has implemented various projects with the Maleku Tribe in northern Costa Rica in the past three years.

Thank you all for your continued support and generosity.

Let’s Act Positive and Get Planting!

The goddesses hard at work planting, princess too
The goddesses hard at work planting, princess too
Look at those new trees just planted. She
Look at those new trees just planted. She's happy
Plant a tree for a loved one at www.lrff.org
Plant a tree for a loved one at www.lrff.org

Links:

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