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Forest at the Source of the Rio Nosara


Costa Rica


Tropical forests have always covered the mountains at the source of the Rio Nosara on the Nicoya Peninsula in northwest Costa Rica. For the residents of the village of Hojancha, the river is the most important source of drinking water.

The forest was almost completely cleared in the 1980s to make room for cattle grazing land. The Rio Nosara began to lose water and, by the end of the dry season, the river bed was suddenly completely dried up.

This led a group of local citizens to form an action group which later became the Fundacion Pro Reserva Forestal Monte Alto (FMA). With the support of the German environmental organization Tropica Verde e.V., they were able to secure a 924 hectare piece of land that later became known as the Monte Alto Forest Reserve.

One of the main focuses of the fundacion is the reforestation of the reserve with endemic trees. The group has been able to successfully carry out the project despite various obstacles. Water now flows along the Rio Nosara the whole year through.

Yet the Hojanchenos know that this success can only be sustained if the next generation is sensitized to the importance of nature protection and the expansion of the Zona Protectora Monte Alto. Thus, environmental education is the organization’s second focus. Numerous workshops and courses are offered to the local population, focusing, for example, on water quality issues, how to deal with solid and liquid waste, the effects of climate change on the Monte Alto or the importance of endemic species in reforestation projects.

The Hand in Hand-Fund has been a major supporter of the project. One sign of their involvement and success is the view of the environmental center rising high above the reservation.








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