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(Formerly Friends of the Great Green Macaw)

Our Mission

The mission of Rainforest Biodiversity Group is to protect biological diversity, including migratory bird species, through the protection of habitat for the Great Green Macaw and the creation of local conservation initiatives.

Story of the Great Green Macaw

The Great Green Macaw is also known as the "Buffon’s Macaw". It is known as "Lapa Verde" in Spanish and Ara ambigua in scientific terms. This species is internationally endangered. It is red listed by CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). It is also identified
as a species “most in need of protection” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation.)

The population of the Great Green Macaw is in great danger of becoming extinct in Costa Rica. Here less than 200 individual birds remain, with less than 30 breeding pairs. The Great Green Macaw is now found in less than 10% of its original home range in Costa Rica. The establishment of local and private conservation initiatives and economic alternatives are needed to protect the Great Green Macaw population from becoming extinct in Costa Rica.

The Conservation Issues

The greatest threat to the existence of the Great Green Macaw population in Costa Rica is
continued deforestation, especially the deforestation of the Alemendro, this species main
forage and nest tree.

The Almendro, (Dipteryx panamensis) or Mountain Almond, is a tree that produces a large almond nut that is highly preferred by the Great Green Macaw. The majority of macaw nests observed have been in Almendros, in the large cavities that are created when a branch breaks from the tree. These macaws also get water from the Almendro, in smaller cavities where rain water collects. In essence, the Almendro is the perfect habitat for the Great Green Macaw, providing food, water and shelter.  

The Almendro
(Dipteryx panamensis) 

But there is a problem, a very big problem. These same Almendros are being cut from the forests and being taken to sawmills where they are made into boards for patios, decks, floors, and truck beds. Almendro is unfortunately a popular “Tropical Hardwood” as it is very hard, and is very resistant to deterioration and termites. The continued destruction of this species could lead to the destruction of the Great Green Macaw.

In addition to habitat destruction, the nest robbing of young birds for the pet trade and the hunting of the birds for food is still a problem, although on a smaller scale than in other countries. This is, no doubt, thanks to educational efforts of the Costa Rican National Great Green Macaw Commission and its member organizations.

The Importance of the Great Green Macaw

The Great Green Macaw has become a symbol of conservation in the northern/northeastern region of Costa Rica. It has become a species that communities can rally around for protection of their natural resources and for economic opportunities such as tourism. Biologically, the Great Green Macaw can be used as an indicator species of forest health. Where macaws remain the forest is relatively healthy.

Equally important, protecting habitat for the Great Green Macaw will also protect habitat for thousands of other species of creatures that live in the same habitat.

San Juan – La Selva Biological Corridor Committee

The Rainforest Biodiversity Group is a founding member of the San Juan - La Selva Biological Corridor - Executive Committee.  This committee was formed November 2001, at La Tirimbina Biological Reserve. The committee has been formed to develop and implement the San Juan - La Selva Biolgical Corridor

Protecting the Great Green Macaw to Protect Biodiversity

By protecting the Great Green Macaw and its habitat we have the opportunity to protect thousands of species including:

Endangered Species such as:  Migratory Bird Species such as:
  • Jaguar

  • Baird's Tapir, 

  • West Indian Manatee, 

  • Keel-billed Motmot, 

  • Squirrel Monkey, 

  • and others.

  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak

  • Ovenbird

  • Golden-winged Warbler

  • Olive-sided Flycatcher


Click here for 2005 Annual Report

Click here for 2004 Annual Report

Click here for 2002-2003 Annual Report

Click here for 2001-2002 Annual Report


* Rainforest Biodiversity Group is fully tax deductible 501c.3 environmental non-profit organization incorporated in the state of WI.