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 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 The ban on timber exports was repealed in 2006 and since then over 20,000 square kilometers of forest have already been assigned as forestry concessions and awarded to international and local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:

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:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?