Kendall Delyser (Colorado, US) finished her research and presented her results. Her research spanned from January to May 2015
Assessing the effectiveness of reforestation in the tropical montane forests of Costa Rica.
- Does the manual planting of trees significantly improve the progress of regeneration back to a climax state?
- Does the manual planting of trees increase the quantity of individuals of climax tree species found within the regenerating forest areas?
3 sites were chosen and within those sites she used 3 plots containing 3 transects 10m long. She wanted to know whether climax species or pioneer species were predominant through the identification of the species.
The forest cover in which she was investigating consisted of 3 different reforestation areas – planted, natural regeneration less than 30 years, and natural regeneration over 30 years old. The Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, the Talamanca Nature Reserve, and the Chirripó National Park were all included in the study. The planted areas were only within the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve.
Data that was collected to help with the research included: the slope of the area, photos and GPS data for each plot, existing vegetation other than trees, DBH, height and position of the trees, and species ID. Some the trees were listed as unknowns and these posed the biggest challenge. In order to identify species she used references from books in the Cloudbridge library, on-line herbarium sites, past researchers, as well as consulting with Tom and Linda from Cloudbridge and a botanist from the Herbarium in San Jose. The limitation in this study is the difficulty to ID all of the trees in the plot.
Even with all of those resources, there were 102 unidentified trees at the end of the study. The limited time frame, high species diversity, lack of flowers and fruit, and height of some of the trees contributed to this.
However, with the significant amount of data collected the results of this study did show that there is significant difference between the planted areas and the natural regeneration. Planting trees do aid in forest regeneration based on the higher number of climax species in those plots.
Kendell felt that the research proves reforestation efforts through tree planting at Cloudbridge is helping to restore the cloud forest.
This is a very active time for the bird point counts. It is nesting season for many species. James and Fabian continue to add to the data base and have many beautiful photos as well.
Gabrielle Duong “Gabby” (BA in Biology and Psychology) and Ashley Junger (BA in Biology and English Literature) both from DePauw University, Greencastle Indiana, USA. They are on an internship for 10 weeks. Their research will look at the distribution and frequency of butterfly species in four different forest types.
Volunteers and visitors:
Another eager group from the organizations ARO – Quebec, Canada
They helped move soil, learned about the environmental program at Cloudbridge, and visited the art gallery.
York University – Toronto, Canada
Every year this university comes to Cloudbridge for a hike. The following weekend this environmental science and aboriginal studies group invited Tom and Linda to join them in the community of ‘Quisarra’ where they were staying, for the annual ‘Alexander Skutch Festival’.
Tree Planting :
Frank Spooner (England) has joined the team as manager and will be looking after day to day activities and overseeing research. His past work through Global Vision International (GVI) will bring much experience to Cloudbridge. He has worked with volunteers and researchers in Equador, Peru, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Some of his work includes; Jaguar project manager through GVI and Pantera in Costa Rica, and a butterfly project manager in the Amazon basin – Equador.
Now and Then:
The reforestation research through various planting strategies by Stephan Lehman is beginning to result in the forest recovery along a very difficult slope. Our planting processes have changed considerably thanks to this study.
Jacqueline Medrano Vallejos was a former researcher. In 2006 she did tree monitoring for 3 months, and then returned in 2007 to work on plant ID for 5 months. While she was in Costa Rica she managed to fall in love with Diego from the Guanacaste area. They are now married and living in Phoenix Arizona. She is a manager for Starbucks and has implemented her sustainable practices for the company using her background studies of Environmental Science and Management. This has resulted in diverting 3/4 of the waste from a pilot store in Arizona. Hopefully she can push this initiative company wide.
We always welcome visits from past volunteers. Reminiscing and catching up on what has changed both in their lives and at Cloudbridge is engaging. It reminds us that what is unique about Cloudbridge is how it helps to shape lives with rich experiences and lasting friendships. Jacqueline has returned several times and is planning to come back again!