11 Feb Osa Conservation celebrates “Día del Árbol,” or Day of the Tree
Blog by: María José Mata-Quirós, Restoration & Rewilding & Data Management Coordinator
For 105 years on June 15, Costa Rica has celebrated “Día del Árbol,” or Day of the Tree. Former President Alfredo Gonzales Flores established this celebration to raise national awareness about the importance of trees.
More than a Celebration
Trees are one of the main sources of energy and matter in terrestrial ecosystems; They support a great diversity of animals, plants, fungi and algae. They are one of the most important carbon storages and climate regulators. They protect water sources and provide humans with wood, fibers, medicine, and many other products.
In summary, trees give us life.
Despite how imperative forests are to our existence,, between 30,000 and 50,000 hectares a year have been deforested in Costa Rica during the last two decades, and almost half of the nation’s forest cover is on private land without any form of protection. Globally, forests increasingly become landscapes degraded by humans; about 49% of priority areas for the conservation of tree diversity are not protected, so they are exposed to moderate and high human pressure.
Deforestation and loss of tree diversity bring serious consequences that not only affect the trees themselves, but also the other species that depend on them — like us.
Several international challenges and agreements are directed toward conserving and increasing the forest cover. In 2021 the Decade of Restoration declared by the United Nations will begin. In Costa Rica, the national Decarbonization Plan aims to increase Costa Rica’s forest cover to 60% by 2030 to consolidate biological corridors and increase the availability of green areas for recreation.
Día del Árbol
In our corner of the world, Osa Conservation works to restore and promote landscape connectivity in the Osa Peninsula and the Amistosa Biological Corridor. We collect seeds that become trees in our nursery, where we care for them until they are mature enough to be planted across the region.
This year we celebrated the Day of the Tree and kicked off the planting season by donating over 700 native trees to local community members interested in increasing forest cover in their own backyards.
We organized two tree fairs in the communities of Puerto Jimenez and La Palma on the Osa Peninsula, where people from the community were invited to collect trees and plant them on their property. People of all ages collected about 500 trees, a lot of them rare or threatened species.
In the Fila Tigre community, which borders La Amistad National Park, we planted 250 trees of 20 different species on a 5000 m2 farm owned by ADI Fila Tigre, marking the beginning of the restoration of the spring water on which the land is located. This collaborative effort was made possible thanks to the seven farmers in the area who are part of the UNDP Productive Landscapes program and a representative of the Department of Environment of the Municipality of Coto Brus.
We thank everyone who celebrated with us, and who contribute to increasing the forest cover of the region. Special thanks to ASADA La Palma, ADI Fila Tigre, and OET Las Cruces Biological Station for their collaboration in the events.