San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Many in the Lake Arenal area are familiar with La Reserva Forest Foundation (, located just outside Tiláran, Costa Rica. It was formed in 1998, by Roberta Ward Smiley and Daniel Spreen Wilson with the goal of restoring and preserving Costa Rica’s native tropical forests. This helps offset global warming and is critical for the wildlife.

One focus of La Reserva is the creation of tree corridors to link isolated forest islands. Monkeys and sloths must move from one jungle island to another in search of food and mates. Without these corridors, these animals are subject to electrocution, death and maiming. 

In 2009, La Reserva began work with Global Giving (, an internationally recognized marketplace for philanthropy that connects individual donors to the causes. This is a way for U.S. taxpayers to make tax-deductible donations. 

La Reserva’s latest project is reforesting a 10-meter corridor along the Río Sol in the Maleku Reserve in the Guatuso area. Between 1961 and 1992, this area lost more than 90 percent of its tropical humid forest to cattle farming and crop cultivation. The Río Sol riverbanks degraded, causing erosion.

Herbicides and pesticides found their way to the rivers in the area of Guatuso, polluting them and causing damage to flora and fauna. While the 10-meter buffer zone will not restore the forest, it will act as a corridor that flora and fauna can use for habitat and migration, increasing biodiversity. The 2,500 newly planted trees will also help retain the soil along the riverbanks.  

For more info or to make a donation, see

–Lynn Farris

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