Los Mayos Mountain Nature Reserve

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Costa Rica is a land of miracles for many reasons. Reversing deforestation is one of them. An estimated third to half of Costa Rican forests were lost to crops, livestock, and logging by 1987. Yet today, close to 60% of the land is once again covered in lush forests, home to 5% of Earth’s entire treasury of species. Yet economic pressures complicate further reforestation progress. True sustainability requires system re-design, enabling people to derive income from protecting nature 

We support the creation of Los Mayos Mountain Nature Reserve in the Fila Chonta Mountain Range, overlooking the National Park of Manuel Antonio. The project goes beyond protecting a key watershed and wildlife habitat, to enabling pride and economic prosperity for local communities.

This area is covered by Humid Tropical Forest, a threatened biodiverse treasure with rare flora and fauna and hundreds of pristine mountain springs. Successful pilot projects of the Santa Juana community and lodge, and the private Cloudmaker Nature Reserve, already exist here protecting 400 hectares (1,000 acres). The Santa Juana community members are the Caretakers of these projects.

These days, both tourists and community members can watch toucans hopping around majestic trees. This beauty and the profound sense of connection it inspires touch all humans equally. But some people can afford to pause and marvel, whereas others cannot: They must log those trees to survive. Members of the Santa Juana community remember well the times when they depended on logging and poaching – and they much prefer the present.

Our goal is to expand and replicate this successful model.

This proposal is planned as a multi-year program to be subdivided into specific prioritized projects, each with its own goals and fundraising. Buying land or negotiating with owners of several abandoned farms in the area would expand this protected land to thousands of additional hectares. Further potential programs include Regenerative Agriculture and sponsoring the first School for Rural Costa Rican Gastronomy. The school’s curriculum by the World Institute of Sustainable Gastronomy and programs by the Corcovado Foundation on Regenerative Agriculture will offer knowledge, skills, and products, accessible to both tourists and residents. Depending on fundraising progress, this programming could be designed to fit a new facility or adapted to the expansion and use of existing facilities.

We will continue building this story and enabling donors to become participants – to personally experience the benefits of protecting and enhancing the culture of rural communities and the wealth of their treasured biodiversity