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.
Jun 23, 2014

And The Work Continues...

Doing inventory at the Chimurria property
Doing inventory at the Chimurria property

This past week we had nine volunteers at La Reserva on Thursday, June 19th, the peak day. John Witter, our most excellent volunteer from Illinois, accompanied me on my last inventory for the Strack Transportation sponsored projects we began planting at the end of September 2013 on the Gonzalez property in La Fortuna. Here’s his report… 

Roberta Ward Smiley with volunteer John Witter and Maleku Jimmy Acosta Elizondo traveled to Chimurria de Upala to inventory Elias Cruz’s nursery. In total there are 1899 trees of 38 different species. More trees will be acquired from Elias other nursery in Delicias de Upala to obtain a wider variety of species. Jimmy suggested we take a look at the planting area once more before planting begins on June 23rd. With Elias’ son we walked and measured the planting site for the project. The site is a strip of land with many banana trees 690+ meters long and a width of less than 10 meters before reaching swamp. After crossing approximately 200 meters of swamp, there is more land to plant trees. Another thin strip of land across the swamp is more than 1200 meters. The entire area of the planting site is about 2 hectares.

John is being very humble because it was a “swamp run”. When Jimmy and I first surveyed the project it was during the dry season in March. We walked along the high ground/strip of land and on the left there was a swampy, slow moving river and the other side was a pasture. Now that it’s rainy season the pasture on the left side is filled with at least 2 feet of water and the strip of land that we’ll plant this month is covered with a type of saw grass. As we walked along the land we dodged old banana plants and got cut on our arms by the grass. After the 690+ meter point we had to ford about 200 meters of swamp, up to our hips in some places. None of us were prepared, we were wearing leather boots, tennis shoes and Crocs. John never complained once, none of us did, but we were glad to get back to Elias house.

Next we traveled to Elias farm in Delicias de Upala to inventory Santiago’s nursery. There are over 4,000 trees among 94 different species. It was touching to see how proud Santiago was of the large variety of species he was able to find. We talked to him early on about how to collect a vast array of species easily and Jimmy went over to help him “see”. All total we will plant over 6000 trees in the next couple of weeks. J

We are waiting to implement the Reforesting the Deforestation project because that would be 42,000 trees (42 has.), 7 times the area and amount of trees in this project. I love the fieldwork and love to share these stories with you to give you a feel for our on the ground work. And the work continues…

LET’S GET PLANTING!!

LRFF Volunteers, June 2014
LRFF Volunteers, June 2014
Walking Elias planting site at Delicias
Walking Elias planting site at Delicias
Santiago and his family
Santiago and his family

Links:

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:

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