Conservation of Lowland Tropical Rainforest is the main objective of this project. As a start, we have acquired 78 contiguous acres from 5 different plots that were previously sub-divided. This land is situated within the Agujas River watershed on the Osa Peninsula of Southern Costa Rica. The watershed ultimately drains into the Golfo Dulce on the Pacific Coast. Additional available lands will be combined with this parcel to form a Wildlife Corridor from the Golfo Dulce to the Corcovado National Park. Restoration and conservation of this watershed is crucial to maintain the integrity of this important ecosystem.
Another, and equally important part of this project is to enhance the financial opportunities available to the local community. A Jungle Lodge that includes a Wellness Center & Yoga Retreat will be built on the existing land parcel. This will be built with Post and Beam construction, using locally sourced materials such as Bamboo and Cob. This will minimize the environmental footprint of the structures. All local labor and artisans will be utilized for construction.
The tourism also benefits the surrounding area as visitors take tours, visit restaurants, shop and so on. This is not a new model, but simply a successful one that we will implement in a responsible and sustainable manner.
None of the Funds from this campaign will be utilized for the "Lodge" part of the project. Funds are for land acquisition and conservation activities only. The initial goal of $125k is a modest start to acquire a smaller, adjacent plot of land. There are hundreds of acres available that will require large financial commitments. Baby steps first. Please help us continue with this conservation project. We are off to a good start with the 78 acres.
One of the most important keys to this venture achieving its goal, is to create decent paying jobs for the local community. After all, this is their community, their land, their home. So many good and talented people in this area, but they struggle to find steady, good paying jobs. When a person is struggling to support their family they will use whatever means may be available to help ends meet.
Traditional sources of income in the Osa have been logging, gold mining, hunting, cattle ranching, farming and so on. These activities are not well aligned with habitat and wildlife conservation. Recently, in the last 10 to 15 years, there have been efforts towards developing more sustainable sources of income for the community. To a degree this has been successful through Eco-tourism, Nature tours, Yoga retreats, Organic Farm tours, Ocean tours for whale and dolphin watching and many more local activities. There is also a community of Indigenous Ngobe folks not far away and they welcome folks to their reserve for guided cultural and nature tours.
The tourism itself can be a strain on the habitats that are being visited. Another knock-on effect of tourist visiting is more subdivision of the land for vacation homes and residences as folks fall in love with the Osa.
So this brings us back to the beginning, conserving the Rainforest. The core of the Osa Peninsula is Corcovado National Park. The Park is bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. Development in this area is regulated and restricted. Still folks live in this zone and have an impact on the habitat and wildlife. The area outside of the reserve is private lands. This is where the lands are being subdivided and environmentally degraded. This is the focus of our project and target for our funding.
Our goal with this crowdfunding campaign is to build upon our efforts to "un-subdivide" the Agujas River Watershed where we have acquired the first 78 acres. This is but a small piece of a larger puzzle that will need to be reassembled. The funds from this campaign, will be spent on land acquisition, conservation agreements and payments in kind to compensate for lost production or income due to conservation mitigation plans. This is not a small project, but a world class, game changing effort. Several kilometers of watershed can be brought back into balance to help protect not only the Agujas River but ultimately the Golfo Dulce.
Some of the plots of land that are available have been logged or farmed in the past and will require re-wilding. Other pieces are Primary Rainforest with huge, virgin, Jungle trees. Yet others are in transition towards being developed. Roads have been punched in and building sites surveyed. As such, time is of the essence in our quest to acquire and preserve this invaluable wildlife habitat and watershed / riparian buffer zone.
Palm Oil, cattle ranches, farms and such, can not be viewed as the "enemy" as they provide incomes and valuable services for the communities. But they can be managed in partnership with common sense and good stewardship of the land. Organic practices, riparian buffer zones, wildlife corridors are all good tools to help mitigate the effects man has on the environment.
The biodiversity in the Osa Peninsula is second to none in the world, literally. It is not too late to reverse the damage that has been done through fragmentation of the habitat. We can put it back together, while at the same time improving opportunities for the local communities. Win - Win...
Please join us in helping to bring together a sustainable conservation project that will benefit both the wildlife and the local communities and planet Earth...
Pura Vida, Gordon and the Folks at Treequest.