Restoration not only helps to connect forests and ecosystem

Restoration not only helps to connect forests and ecosystem

Blog by: Rodrigo de Sousa, Ridge to Reef Restoration Network Implementation Manager

As most of us are aware, fragmentation of tropical forests is one of the biggest threats to the amazing biodiversity that exists in the tropics, and unfortunately, despite its good environmental policies and strategies, Costa Rica does not escape from this global trend.

Past and Predicted Land Use Trends in Southwest Costa Rica. Map by: NASA DEVELOP

Land use changes, especially those aimed at either establishing pasture for beef production or establishing monocrop plantations of palm oil, bananas and pineapple have (and will continue to) dramatically change the general landscape of this country, particularly affecting large areas of the Costa Rican southwest that, a few decades ago, were covered with forests.

Luckily, there are still well-preserved large patches of primary forests whereas secondary forests are reappearing in many areas which gives us a great opportunity for restoration since we can still find all kinds of seed dispersers that could contribute to significantly increase the initial tree biodiversity on human-made plantations for restoration.

Productive farmland bordering the Talamanca Mountain Range in Southern Costa Rica. Photo: Rodrigo Benavides, Ridge to Reef Field Technician.

I am thrilled to be part of a large restoration initiative such as the “Ridge to Reef Restoration Network”, launched by Osa Conservation earlier this year, aiming at help connecting the astonishing biodiversity present in the protected areas of Osa Peninsula, Golfo Dulce and the Talamanca Range.

This might be our last chance to bring back, at least to some extent, the great variety of fauna and flora that once populated this region, and I am thankful to have an opportunity to make real and lasting changes.

My experience has shown me that restoration is a bridge to connect forests and ecosystems but more importantly it can be an effective tool to connect people, communities, companies, and institutions creating great opportunities for improving local livelihoods while generating landscapes where ecosystems can thrive and flourish.

Habitat restoration work has the potential to connect people and communities through environmental education. Photo: Rodrigo Benavides.

I could not ask for a better life than working with people and nature in such a beautiful part of the World.