Our Vision: Connecting rainforests through reforestation

Biological Corridor (map by Florian Hofhansl). Click to enlarge.

The Esquinas Rainforest used to be connected with the Fila Cruces (also called Filam Cal), a 5000-feet high, forested mountain ridge.  The Fila Cruces is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, stretching from Mexico to Panama. Today, the forest cover is interrupted by farmland and pastures. The plant and animal life in the remaining "forest islands" is becoming isolated. Since 2010, our work has focused on the Biological Corridor La Gamba (COBIGA) with two principal goals :

  • Preservation of biodiversity by connecting isolated patches of forest
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide by sequestering it in biomass

Both land purchase and reforestation are necessary to achieve these goals. Starting in 2016, La Gamba Tropical Field Station will be responsible for the COBIGA project. Donations to Rainforest of the Austrians will be forwarded to the field station. The University of Vienna will provide us with detailed progress reports.

Finca Amable in La Gamba and Finca Alexis in San Miguel are part of the COBIGA corridor

Due to economical, social and political development during the past decades, massive deforestation in the tropics occured in many countries, including Costa Rica. Some locations can be lerft to natural succession, and within a few decades a biodiverse secondary forest grows by itself. Strongly degraded locations, however, lack seedbanks, so that natural regeneration is only partly or not at all possible. On these pastures, La Gamba Field Station, the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources, aided by local helpers and volunteers, are attempting to reforest and restore forest. Selected local tree species from surrounding rainforests are planted with the goal of recreating a biodiverse forest. More than 100 species from the Golfo Dulce region are raised at the nursery Finca Modelo in La Gamba and planted on meadows that had previously been purchased.

The project COBIGA is a joint venture between Rainforest of the Austrians, Rainforest Luxemburg Opens external link in new windowwww.rainforest.lu and the Associacion for the Support of La Gamba Field Station (Opens external link in new windowwww.lagamba.at). The biological corridor COBIGA  connects the lowland tropical forests of the Golfo Dulce with the cloud forests on the Fila Cruces (also named Fila Cal), a mountain ridge west of the Rainforest of the Austrians. Chosen plots of land are reforested with local tree species under the supervision of scientists. The goals are preservation of biodiversity by connecting isolated patches of forest and reduction of carbon dioxide by sequestering it in biomass.

The natural fauna and flora of isolated "forest islands" that are surrounded by agriculture land cannot survive in the long run. The result is the depletion of species; some species become extinct. The creation of biological corridors through reforestation enables a genetic exchange of animal and plant species between the Rainforest of the Austrians and isolated forest areas.  Besides, reforestation INCREASES carbon capture by almost 600 tonnes per hectare, whereas existing rainforests produce the same amount of CO2 as they capture. Each planted tree captures 700 kilograms of CO2 during it's average lifespan of 60 years.

Seedöings are planted after 3 to 6 months
Ing. Daniel Jenking with seedlings from the rainforest
Thousands of trees will be planted on Finca Alexis in 2016
View from Finca Alexis 1 to Finca Alexis 2
Transporting seedlings toFinca Ovelio
The nursery "finca modelo" in La Gamba