Chocüaco's Forest Corridor, Tronadora, Costa Rica

by La Reserva Forest Foundation
Environment Day, 2007 day of planting
Environment Day, 2007 day of planting

That is the question in this project update.

I visited recently with Ana Cecilia while recording an inaugural radio program at the local Radio Cultural Tilaran. Ana is the attorney for the Municipality of Tilaran, our home town.

This project has been posted on GlobalGiving since June of 2010. I was interested whether Ana would accept $100/hectare/year for envirnomental service payments, thus lowering the budget by $2000. I asked her to call and let me know but no response. In actual direct donations this project has only received $625.00. I transferred $762.00 in donations, from an earlier project on GlobalGiving called “Finca Salvaje” and that wasn’t doing well, to the Chocüaco Forest Corridor project. That brought the total donations to $1387.00.  The total budget to implement this project is $10,071.00.

When a project has been posted for one year and hasn’t earned a minimum of 50% of the funding I am tempted (and usually do) ask the donors if they would agree to move their donation to another project, of the same type, that is in full swing or closer to being funded. What do you think? Shall we close out this project and move these donations over to the “Rio Sol Biological Corridor, Maleku Reserve, Costa Rica”? This is a project in implementation that still lacks funding, a project in full swing. Check out the link below to the project page. We have the majority of funding in place from our corporate sponsor, etnies shoes, donations received from us a LRFF and you on the GlobalGiving site plus three grants submitted, two of which are super promising.

Let me know your thoughts and don’t be surprised if I contact you soon for permission to put the funds into the Rio Sol project. Thank you all for your support of this project. Let’s use that support to…


Environment Day 2010, 4 years after planting
Environment Day 2010, 4 years after planting
Pasture at La Reserva, 1988 (see post)
Pasture at La Reserva, 1988 (see post)
Same pasture after 8 yrs regeneration (see post?)
Same pasture after 8 yrs regeneration (see post?)


Euphonia, forest connectivity dependent
Euphonia, forest connectivity dependent

Another great progress report from Mary Blizzard, secretary of LRFF/US, my best friend and greatest supporter of LRFF. After writing this report she went ahead and donated to it again. Thank you Mary. Come on everyone let's get this one planted!! RWS

I’ve been lucky enough to return to Costa Rica for a short visit. I am amazed yet again at how rapidly things grow in this environment. Trees that I helped plant just two years ago are already taller than I am. A small forest that I helped plant three years ago has trees in so tall that I can stand underneath their canopy. This incredibly rapid growth is part of what gives me hope that sustained efforts in reforestation will help bring our mother Earth back into balance. Tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, their depletion has created an imbalance that we witness as wide-spread droughts in parts of the world and unprecedented flooding in others. 

This project when funded will plant 2,500 trees in an area that is now open pasture. These trees will rapidly grow from small seedlings to tall trees, capable of absorbing over 30 tons of CO2, replacing it with life-sustaining oxygen. The trees will also form a corridor for the many animals living in adjacent forests, expanding their territory thus increasing their chances for survival. (Being trapped in forest islands is one of the causes of species depletion as the gene pool is limited and weakness becomes inbred.) Your donation to this project will make you a partner in these rewarding outcomes. Thank you for caring, for loving your mother, the Earth, and for making a donation to our reforestation efforts

Chicha injured due to lack of forest connectivity
Chicha injured due to lack of forest connectivity


The great toad of Costa Rica. They need shade.
The great toad of Costa Rica. They need shade.

You may have read about the alarming rate of species depletion around the world. Though it’s not  a story that makes the nightly news, it has been documented in various scientific journals and conservation magazines. No one knows the long term effect of this increasingly rapid loss of species diversity, but it is generally agreed to be a frightening fact. Better news coverage has been given to the devastating climatic events  occurring across the United States and around the world. For some it seems clear that Mother Earth is fighting back against the myriad abuses she has endured. The casualties continue to climb. 

We have at hand a means to address both these fearful issues. The most potent antidote we have at this time to fight the trends of species depletion and global climate change is to plant trees. Trees planted in the tropics are particularly important for they have up to 40 times the leaf mass of trees in more temperate zones - and that means a much higher rate of CO2 absorption. It is also the tropics that host the greatest diversity of both flora and fauna, which thrive in healthy forests.

The good news about this project is that we currently have over $1,000 in donations toward planting the 2,000+ trees that would connect two large areas of forest. Your donation will help get the trees in the ground, you’ll be part of creating a new biological corridor which will increase the health of the existing forests and protect the species living there. Please donate today.


Do you want to give to a project that has vision? High impact? Passionate leadership? Long-term dedication? Look no further than La Reserva. Roberta Ward Smiley, founder of La Reserva, is a kind, intelligent, and welcoming individual who has been taking high impact action to restore and preserve the beautiful rainforests of Costa Rica. Roberta has been at this for the last 15 years but has been living in Costa Rica for around 30 years and is no stranger to the landscape. I met Roberta on April 5th. Prior to this I had little knowledge of the importance of biological corridors, tree nursery maintenance, and biodiversity. By the end of our day together Roberta had explained these things and much more. In addition, she took me to see several of the project sites that La Reserva was in the process of reforesting. Roberta works with homeowners to build biological corridors on their properties. For the homeowners this translates into free tress and a more aesthetic property. For La Reserva this fulfills their philosophy. This philosophy and work ethic recently resulted in La Reserva receiving two grants through the Ford Foundation. This competition was not taken lightly and only the best organizations were selected—La Reserva was selected twice!!! For those of you that have seen the movie Avatar you may recall “Hometree.” This is both the spiritual and physical home of the Na’vi people. Roberta has a project “Hometree” in her back yard—literally. It’s a reforestation project with countless amounts of species and it’s called “Project Hometree.” For me this was the most profound experience from my visit. I realized that we can all have our own project “Hometree.” Not all of us will dedicate our lives to restoring and preserving trees as Roberta has. But ALL of us should realize the importance of balance and interconnections the way that Roberta does. Trees are the foundation of life. This is the message that La Reserva is trying to advocate for and teach others. This is why organizations such as this are so vital. By supporting La Reserva you are supporting many Hometree’s and generating more oxygen for all of life’s creatures. Roberta went from dairy farming to what she calls “oxygen farming.” This is the type of farming that we should all feel inclined to applaud.
Butterfly in biological corridor
Butterfly in biological corridor

Did you know that the average American family generates about 20 tons of CO2 per year? There are many ways we can each help reduce our footprint: driving less, keeping the temperature of our homes a couple degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter, and buying locally produced goods to name a few. All are worthwhile endeavors to reduce CO2 emissions. But an additional tactic is worth consideration. We can each help reduce our carbon footprint by supporting the planting of trees in the tropics. One hectare of tropical forest absorbs approximately 15 tons of CO2 each year! 

The completion of this project will result in planting 2 hectares of new forest which will quickly become a biological corridor connecting two older forests. Supporting it will not only help offset CO2 production, it will also help enhance preservation of the numerous animals who will have their habitat dramatically increased. It’s a win-win situation that needs only your financial support. 

This project now has  $1,189.75  in donations although the project page doesn’t reflect this amount. We added the accumulated donations from the Finca Salvaje project to Chocuaco’s last December when we closed that project for lack of donations. So we are closer to funding this project than you might think.

A new option on the Global Giving website is to make a monthly contribution to a project. Please consider this option, a small monthly donation of $5 or $10 dollars would move us forward and make you an on-going supporter of planting trees in the tropics! 

Leafcutter ant with cargo
Leafcutter ant with cargo



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Organization Information

La Reserva Forest Foundation

Location: Tilaran, Guanacaste - Costa Rica
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Matthew Lee
Project Leader
Tilaran, Guanacaste Costa Rica

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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