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Sustainable Development

Agroforestry, Permaculture, Alternative Forest Products

General Goals:

  1. Increase the use of organic agriculture, permaculture and agroforestry practices in the zone through the development of experimental organic gardens and orchards. Through the development and implementation of these alternative production systems, we can:

    A. Increase the knowledge base at BTT and in the zone about these types of production.

    B. Offset and decrease volunteer food costs by producing our own fruits, veggies, herbs, medicines, etc.

    C. Create/ grow potential products to be sold in both international and local markets to sustain project and project costs.

    D. Decrease the amount of land under more degrading types of production to prevent:

    • Continued Deforestation
    • Increased Cattle Production which degrades soil
    • Erosion, run off and sedimentation of rivers
    • Contamination and pollution of rivers with pest and herbicides, etc.
    • Contamination and pollution of local wells, and water supplies
  2. Distribute information to local community members: Information we gather and gain on alternative and sustainable development should be distributed to other property owners in the zone to make them aware of potential sustainable methods and opportunities. This can once again increase the amount of land under sustainable production.
  3. Find and develop alternative forest products to be sold in the
    international market: Alternative forest products, and ideas for these products should be developed for potential sale and distribution in international and local markets. This income can be used to sustain and advance BTT and its projects.

We are continually looking for new fruit species to experiment with. We are also looking for
buyers (in Costa Rica or abroad), interested in purchasing organic produce, once we
increase our production level.


Biological Inventory and Point-Count Surveys

General Goals:

  1. To inventory the biological diversity of BTT:
    To know what species are present and which are possibly absent. By looking at diversity, abundance and at presence or absence of key species BTT can gain insight to the health of the ecosystems it is protecting. We will also be able to see the effects of habitat protection on the populations, and presence of wildlife. It is important to gather base line data on what species are present at BTT. This includes Birds, Mammals, Amphibian and Reptiles, Trees and Plants as well as any other identifiable species such as Insects, or Fungi, etc.
  2. Gather data on bird diversity and abundance at given locations at BTT:
    Bird observation data will be continually collected at designated locations at BTT. This data will be correlated with habitat and vegetation information to determine:

a. which species of birds are correlated with a given habitat type.

b. how do bird populations change with the re-growth of native tree species (short and long term) in reforestation plots

c. which species of birds are currently present at BTT.

d. compare data at BTT with other Point Count Bird Surveys in the Tropics.

Eco-tourism Site Development

BTT is interested in developing more eco-tourism for not only Bosque Tropical del Toro, but for the Sarapqui and northeastern region of Costa Rica as well. In these areas eco-tourism is not the booming industry that it is in other parts of Costa Rica. Actually, the largest industries in these areas involve unsustainable forestry practices, pineapple and banana production and, most commonly cattle grazing.

General Goals:

Create tourism opportunities at BTT: Bringing tourists to BTT will help generate income to sustain this project. There are many ideas and possible projects that can be implemented at BTT that would attract visitors. These include:

  • Hiking trail system
  • Field guides to the property
  • Maps
  • Observation platforms
  • Tree houses
  • Ziplines
  • And many others

Bosque Tropical del Toro is offering tours of our sustainable farm dedicated to conservation. The biggest attraction? A chance to see our stars, the Great Green Macaw, an extremely endangered species that has a small range and is difficult to find anywhere in the world. We also have hundreds of other bird species that may be seen at the property, and have been seeing fresh tracks of a Baird’s Tapir almost daily! It is estimated that 60% of all the bird species in Costa Rica spend part of their time in the northeastern region of Costa Rica. From macaws to warblers, from toucans to tanagers and trogons, we have an enormous variety to offer a bird watcher. And we are only an hour or so away from La Selva Biological Station.

The best time of the year to visit is during the dry season (February to June in our area). Access to the farm is much easier, and it is also the period in which we have the most Great Green Macaw activity.

Reforestation and Tree Care

General Goals:

  • Care for as many of the planted native saplings as possible: To allow the native species planted in the reforestation areas to grow better, it is important to give as much care to as many trees as possible, reduce competition and provide proper growing conditions. This includes removing vines, chopping and cutting grass around the trees, and mulching as many trees as possible. These activities should be done to randomly selected trees as you pass by them, and for all trees in selected areas.
  • Augment Species planted in Reforestation Area: Only a certain number of species have been planted in the reforestation area. To increase diversity within the reforestation area, seeds from local parent trees could be collected, germinated and planted in spaces where the originally planted native species did not survive. This will also help us identify and mark existing native species of trees.
  • Gather growth rate information on native species in determined locations: To determine how well trees are growing in given locations, growth rates will be collected on planted native species in given areas.