Costa Rica has long been famed for its environmental awareness and for leading the way in many areas of ecological conservation and protection. Over a quarter of Costa Rica has been designated government-protected land since 1970, however, Sarapiquí remains one of the least protected areas in the country. For this reason, the SCLC created its reforestation program working in conjunction with local landowners to help protect some of the natural habitats crucial for so many rare and beautiful species, including the critically endangered Great Green Macaw.
The SCLC reforestation program has been running successfully for over a decade and has planted literally thousands of trees in the Sarapiquí area. The program was originally created to support reforestation on local farms that couldn’t apply for the national environmental service payments initiative as they were below the required size of 50 hectares.
How the Program Works
The majority of the tree saplings donated to the SCLC’s reforestation program are from the national electricity company: Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE). Only native tree species are used in order to conserve the natural environment in the region and to help encourage growth in the populations of local wildlife species. The Almendro tree (Dipteryx panamensis) is favoured as it is the preferred nesting site for the Great Green Macaw, a bird species with particular importance in the area.
A combination of volunteers and tourists from all over the world help to plant the saplings on the land that has been prepared by each farmer, in this way the international visitors and the local community are able to build a relationship. This intercultural exchange is truly enjoyed on both sides!
The reforestation program hosts numerous environmental and social benefits and perfectly encompasses the vision of the SCLC.