ASANA (Friends of Nature, Central and Southern Pacific Coast) Costa Rica

The mission of ASANA is to secure the long-term conservation of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor and surrounding natural areas by empowering local communities and residents to take action in support of conservation actions. In particular, we support the development of local community organizations, cooperation among government and non-governmental organizations, and environmental education. We serve as a local coordinator of research activities, and we act as advocate when required to address high-priority needs.
Sep 4, 2013

ASANA Assesses Fragmentation in the Path of Tapir and Savegre

For this report, we want to share with you two studies being conducted by ASANA related to the “connectivity” of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor and the Savegre watershed.  As we have described in earlier reports, the most important function of any biological corridor is the connectivity it provides.  Biological connectivity represents the extent to which animals and plants can move across a landscape – form place to place – without being disrupted because of physical barriers such as roads and hydroelectric dams.  Connectivity, thus, greatly affects a species’s ability to disperse, multiply, and adapt – especially to climate change. Fragmentation occurs when the landscape – in our case the forest – gets cut up into smaller and smaller pieces.  This erodes connectivity to the point that, eventually, we are left with tiny island patches of habit that can no longer maintain biodiversity.  In addition, plants and animals cannot move among these remnant patches because the distances between them become too great.

By far, the greatest threat to the Path of the Tapir is fragmentation. Local threats – such as hunting – have been reduced to the point that they are manageable.  But the construction of roads, electrical transmission line, dams, and housing continue to cut up the forest at a fast rate.  To better understand fragmentation in the Corridor ASANA commissioned two studies.   The first study is analyzing the effects of the Coastal Highway on the movement of animals from the mountains down to the coast.  Since the road’s completion a few years ago, we have noticed a dramatic increase in “road kill” – animals killed by passing cars and trucks.  We’ve seen things as small as frogs, crabs, and lizards, and animals as large as collared peccaries (forest pigs), howler monkeys, and ocelots (one of our biggest tropical cats in the region). Sadly, just last month, a full-growth tapir was killed by a truck in the Cerro La Muerte at the top of the Savegre Watershed.  With the current study, we are hoping to better understand where animals cross in order to figure out ways – perhaps through rope bridges or tunnels – to decrease their mortality.

Our second study was done in collaboration with CAVU (, a non-profit that specializes in overflights and aerial photography.  CAVU graciously donated its plane and staff time to photograph key fragmentation points in the Path of the Tapir and Savegre, including the narrowest part of the Corridor where much housing construction is occurring and hydroelectric dams in the Savegre Watershed.  We are greatly indebted to CAVU for its support.

We are hoping this report on connectivity and fragmentation – and two studies we are undertaking to understand them – gives you a better understanding of our work in the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor and Savegre Watershed.   Thanks for your continued support!

Jul 10, 2013

Mobilizing Local Support

Our work in the Savegre River Watershed continues at a steady pace.  We have had to spend more time building local support across a broad spectrum of stakeholders since our last submission of a proposal for Biosphere Reserve status with UNESCO was put on hold. This has come about primarily because we lacked one vote on the municipal council of Aguirre (Quepos) – one of the four municipalities from which we have sought formal support. But fortunately, what seemed to be a small setback has produced a very significant silver lining…. Local communities have expressed such a strong interest in the concept of a biosphere reserve that they have rallied to form their own local councils in order to show their formal support.  This is true democracy in action.  We expect to formalize local requests to the Costa Rican System of Protected Areas (SINAC) in the next few months in order to proceed with a final proposal to UNESCO. We will keep you posted but thank you for your continued support of this important project. Savegre Forever!

May 30, 2013

ASANA forms local council

ASANA has been working for years to form what is called a "local council."  This council is comprised of local leaders who represent various sectors of the Path of the Tapir Biological Corridor including communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, and local government. With the new local council, the Path of the Tapir now enjoys full government recognition.   In addition, ASANA has a strong, empowered partner to promote conservation.  The local council becomes the legal entity responsible for managing the Biological Corridor and, as such, has the authority – in the eyes of the Costa Rican Government – to take bold action.  It can raise funds for conservation efforts, represent the Corridor in all legal and government proceedings, and enter into agreements with national and international entities.  ASANA serves as the secretariat of the local council and will continue to serve as the engine that drives conservation in the Path of the Tapir.

We thank you for your continued support!

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