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.
May 14, 2014

News You Can Use

Dena Sanftleben, planting trees for Earth Day
Dena Sanftleben, planting trees for Earth Day

We’ve been really busy here at La Reserva in Costa Rica with lots of visitors since our last project update.

Two of the LRFF/United States board members have come to our headquarters and one future member in the past two months. Dena Sanftleben, U.S. board member and Gretchen Engbring, LRFF/US’s most recent addition to the board, have been enjoying the land of Pura Vida this past month.

Gretchen is staying with us for three months, in fact she’s already written a project report on Global Giving, “Continuing Care for Our Community and Forests” about one of the important aspects of LRFF’s work in caring for and monitoring our projects years after they’ve been planted. She has come to learn, in depth, what we are doing “on the ground’ with communities and planting and how she can help us get projects like “Save San Luis Forest, Save This Family” certified on the carbon market.

This has become one of our biggest hurtles because of the HUGE upfront costs to have a third party verifier come and certify that the trees we have planted and that we are conserving are actually there. Folks, the world is changing and in the not so distant future carbon taxes will have to be imposed internationally. Already the E.U. has the cap and trade and California has passed a cap and trade law called the California Climate Exchange.

This means that everyone, businesses, corporations, governments and private citizens will have to purchase certified carbon offsets to compensate for the annual tons of GHG emissions they are responsible for. The key word here is certified…LRFF has been planting and conserving forests since before many of the carbon tax laws went into affect around the world yet since we haven’t been able to afford the upfront cost of verification our projects are not certified and consequently we are not able to sell “official” carbon offsets. We worry that folks who’d rather plant trees with LRFF will be prevented from so because they need the certified offsets.

Gretchen is a shining hope for me, my heroine in this story of La Reserva Forest Foundation. It is imperative that our projects receive certification and that’s what she aims to find out, if it’s possible, do our projects measure up, can we find the funding to implement the verification….there are so many scammers in the new forest carbon market (selling forest carbon offsets where there is no forest, cutting down forest to plant new, etc.) they make it difficult for an organization like LRFF because we are a minority, restoring and preserving only native forests and for all the right reasons. We are doing it for ALL life on this Earth because it’s our responsibility. So come on everybody….

LET’S GET PLANTING!

Gretchen Engbring, planting for Ryan Stallard
Gretchen Engbring, planting for Ryan Stallard
The Sign in honor of Ryan
The Sign in honor of Ryan
Nursery for our next planting in June @ Upala
Nursery for our next planting in June @ Upala

Links:

Apr 30, 2014

The Good & the Bad News

Map of chimpanzee presence in Liberia
Map of chimpanzee presence in Liberia

Which would you like first, the good news or the bad news? Let’s get the nastiness out of the way first and save the best for last. 

Usually when we read about Liberia in West Africa it’s about civil war, economic crises or disease as with the recent recurrence of the deadly Ebola virus. Liberia experienced two civil wars within a 20-year period, one in the 80’s and the other as recently as 2003 and 2004. These civil wars have left the country poor and, as described in this project, ecologically destroyed.

Currently only 3.9% of Liberia’s forests are protected. With the heavy economic necessities the country faces it has decided most recently to go gung ho on the exploitation of mineral extraction and forestry. See the map included showing the proposed development projects. The ban on timber exports was repealed in 2006 and since then over 20,000 square kilometers of forest have already been assigned as forestry concessions and awarded to international and local investors.

Sounds pretty bad, eh? But the good news…an international team of researchers from the Max Planke Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has just finished “counting” all of the chimpanzees and other large mammals in the country and found something amazing…Liberia has the second largest population of West African chimpanzees after Guinea. The census revealed that 7000 chimpanzees make Liberia their home and only 30% of them live within the protected forest areas.

The inventory gives weight to preserving and increasing protected areas and consideration for future projects by calling attention to this large group of chimps. The researchers feel they have done a great service to the chimpanzees and other mammals that are struggling to survive in this war torn country.

Because of you we have a good start and can finish the funding of this educational reforestation project. This particular project has the potential to uplift a country, its people and environment to its previous levels and higher. Who knows, with that kind of change the chimp populations could increase even more, so come on everyone…

LET’S GET PLANTING!

The challenges the Max Planke Institute faced...
The challenges the Max Planke Institute faced...

Links:

Apr 30, 2014

Continuing Care for Our Communities & Forests

Illegally cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica
Illegally cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica

Although trees provide the foundation of many healthy and vibrant tropical ecosystems, even the largest trees that we plant or preserve require ongoing monitoring for the length of their lives. This makes your support critical not just for native tree nurseries and initial plantings, but also for the monitoring and maintenance that inevitably follows in the years to come. This month, the La Reserva Forest Foundation was reminded of just how important continuing observation – and sometimes intervention – is for the forests and communities we work with.

Franklin and his wife envisaged that their once bare land could be returned to lush, native forests. In 2011, their dream came true when La Reserva Forest Foundation helped them plant 4,000 treeson four hectares of their land in the indigenous Maleku Reserve. Though Frank’s wife sadly passed in January of this year, Frankhas continued to cherish and care for their new forests. Now, just 3 years after planting, the formerly degraded land that surrounded their home is a beautiful and valuable habitat.

 However, when we visited Frank this month, we found him distraught after finding that a neighbor had gone into his forests and cut down many of his prized trees. Though the trees are protected by both Frank’s tenure, a 5-year contract with La Reserva Forest Foundation, and arguably international law, property disputes or intentional deforestation for financial gains are ever-present threats here in Costa Rica.

After a visit to the freshly cut trees, we provided counsel to Frank, contacted the police and explained the situation. The police responded and pursued conversations with the neighbor, establishing the legal reality that protects the trees. Although the forest in question will undoubtedly continue to face threats from people seeking to benefit from its land or lumber, we left optimistic that Frank’s trees and his wife’s dream would be protected.

And so we say to our audience and supporters: Thank you for your support, not just for new projects and plantings, but also for your support between projects. You allow us to serve as the eyes, ears, and advocates of the forest when no one else can.

Police in cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica
Police in cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica
Cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica
Cleared forest in Guatuso, Costa Rica

Links:

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