To support, protect and expand the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
Letter from the President:
It is a true privilege to serve as the president of the Monteverde Conservation League US, and work with our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers on our mission “to support, protect, and expand the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.” This 55,575 acre preserve (known in Costa Rica as the Bosque Eterno de los Niños, or BEN) was created in 1986 by the combined efforts of children from 44 countries, with supporting help from their governments, national organizations, and the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL). MCL’s mission is “to preserve, conserve, and rehabilitate tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity,” with their primary purpose to preserve the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. This very special preserve is the largest private reserve in Central America, noted for its biological richness. Overall, the Monteverde area has been called by the National Geographic Society “the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves.”
MCL is a highly regarded conservation organization at local, national and inter- national levels. It is a member of The World Conservation Union (www.iucn.org), the National Geographic Society’s Global Action Atlas (www.actionatlas.org), and part of UNESCO’s Peace and Water Biosphere Reserve (www.unesco.org). Twenty- five years ago MCL was founded by concerned neighbors, as well as dairy farmers and scientists, who wanted to care for the ecological health of the watershed. Over the years, MCL has negotiated more than 200 individual land purchases to grow the Children’s Eternal Rainforest from a 3,000 acre nucleus to what is now. The sustained effort to protect and conserve the forest and its inhabitants (including 60 species of amphibians, 101 species of reptiles, 450 species of birds, 121 species of mammals, and more than 3,000 species of trees and plants) continues today with the support of MCLUS.
Monterverde Conservation League U.S., Inc.
We are losing the Earth’s greatest biological treasures just as we are beginning to appreciate their true value.
According to the Nature Conservancy, originally, 6 million square miles of tropical rainforest existed worldwide, but as a result of deforestation, only 2.6 million square miles remain today. At the current rate of tropical forest loss, 5-10 percent of tropical rainforest species will be lost per decade. Rainforests are critical not only for main- taining the Earth’s limited supply of drinking and fresh water, but for the essential role they play in helping to regulate the earth’s climate. A single acre of primary rain- forest absorbs 150-250 tons of CO2 each year and produces oxygen. Rainforests are unmatched for the amazing biological diversity they contain. A typical four square mile patch of rainforest contains as many as 1,500 flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies. And, extremely significant for human health, 70% of the plants identified by the U.S. National Cancer Institute as useful in the treatment of cancer are found only in rainforests, and less than 1% of the tropical rainforest species have been analyzed for their medicinal value.
In Costa Rica, the situation is critical. Extensive forests have been cut in the north- west region, but because of the efforts of MCL, the central block of forest remains. Some animal species, like the green-eyed frog, thought to be extinct, have been rediscovered in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. Other endangered amphibian populations (red-eyed tree frog, fringe-limbed frog, broad-headed frog, and pygmy rain frog) have grown larger over the years of forest protection by MCL.
Additionally, through MCL and its collaborative efforts with six other conservation organizations, the Bellbird Biological Corridor is now being developed, and a regional plan is taking shape to reforest parts of the Pacific Slope to link remaining patches of forest. Expanded habitat through elevation changes is essential for the long-term survival of bird species like the Resplendent Quetzal and the Three-wattled Bellbird. Finally, many insect species, upon which other species depend, need the forest protection in their seasonal migration across the Continental Divide.
MCLUS supports the goal of MCL to purchase land to strategically increase the size of the forest.
Priorities include purchasing land to preserve all remaining privately held land within the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, create biological corridors down the Pacific slope, and create a defensible boundary on the Atlantic side.
In 2010, MCLUS gave a 50% down payment of $150,000 to purchase the 252 acre Pipe Cruz farm (photo, right). The final payment of $150,000 will be made in 2011 to complete the purchase of this prime piece of land, which will link two separate pieces of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
MCLUS supports the goal of MCL to protect the rainforest and its inhabitants already encompassed in the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
Guards are used to protect against the constant pressures of hunting, poaching, and illegal lumbering. In addition, a maintenance crew is needed to clean the hundreds of miles of trails and property boundaries, and for building construction and main- tenance.
In 2010, MCLUS was able to provide some critical funding for support of guards operating with the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
MCLUS supports the goal of MCL to provide environmental education programs to gain the support of local communities, and to increase the use of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest as a global educational resource.
Education is a priority in and around the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, for several reasons. First, it is an unparalleled educational resource; second, the long-term protection of the Rainforest depends in part on the understanding and support of local communities; and third, fees paid by tourists and many of the student groups are an important source of income and fundamental to its long-term financial sustainability.
In 2010, MCLUS led two successful eco-trips to the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. These trips are important, bringing business to MCL and educating people about the Rainforest. Looking forward, MCLUS has three trips scheduled for 2011, including the new eco-tour to the Pocosol Biological Station located on the Atlantic slope in the Tilarán mountain range, and four trips scheduled for 2012.
MCLUS is also actively involved in giving presentations to community groups to get more people interested in MCL and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest. This not only builds awareness of MCL, but also creates interest in the eco-tours.
Board of Directors:
Chairman Jane Oliver
Condominium Property Management Inc.
Vice President and Science/Travel Director Margaret Eisenberger
Campbell Law, LLC
The Simon Law Firm, P.C.
Dr. Thomas Lovejoy
Dr. Julia Matamoros
Monteverde Conservation League, Costa Rica
Dr. Peter Raven
Missouri Botanical Garden
Michael S. Salsich
Director of Development, Mississippi Flyway
National Audubon Society