May 2012

“Planting trees, I myself thought for a long time, was a feel-good thing, a nice but feeble response to our litany of modern-day environmental problems. In the last few years, though, as I have read many dozens of articles and books and interviewed scientists here and abroad, my thinking on the issue has changed. Planting trees may be the single most important ecotechnology that we have to put the broken pieces of our planet back together.”
Jim Robbins, The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet


Activities and research

With the return of the rainy season  also begins the planting season.  Starting with Marloes’s research plots, we will be putting in 500 trees in that project along the Montaña Sendero.   The plan is to continue planting along that trail up to the existing forest.  This is an area that has experienced  little natural regrowth and in the past poor luck with planting.  Over the years we have changed our methods and strategies with improved survival rates on these difficult ridge areas.  We plan on trying some alternative methods including organic mulch, and Mycorrhiza introduction around the new seedlings.

Cardboard and Plastic: two methods of weed supression that are being studied.



Under the plastic: a good vegetation kill after one months coverage



 This site has been planted and will have cardboard only close to the trees and will be maintained by manuel labor (machete).


 Marloes checking her plots




Ken and Holly continue their development of the biological assessment survey for Cloudbridge.  They have a comprehensive data base set up and the trails marked with survey sites.  These routes are walked weekly and all sitings of wildlife entered in the system.  Here are some of the photos taken with the camera traps on the first month of surveys:


Black Guan and young

Chiriqui Quail Dove

Collared Peccary



Stephan Lehman completed his fourth year of research study for  tree planting techniques of reforestation in tropical montane forests.   Some of the trees that are performing well on the difficult slopes are Inga oerstediana, Vibernum costaricanum, Alnus acuminata,  Quercus rapurahuensis and Billia hippocastanum .  Others that do well in the gullies with adequate moisture are Sapium pachystachys, Persea schiedeana, Cedrela tonduzii, and  Cecropia polyphlebia.  He recommends planting in biodivirse groupings with a mix of pioneer and canopy species.  He goes home with some comprehensive data from his field studies and is now ready to start his dissertation in Germany.  Good luck Stephan.  We hope to see you back here in a few years with your family!







Tom and Linda have started marking out the beginnings of a new trail which runs along a stream and ends up the valley in a patch of old growth trees.  It will be a very accessible route to see some of the big trees up here in the cloudforest without having to hike a long distance. The route has a  great variety of fern species, including an incredible amount of tree ferns.  It almost looks prehistoric.  Maybe we should call it the Jurassic Trail

Clearing along the Jurassic Trail



Visitor Comments

“Thank you very much .  It was a very  beautiful trail. The best we had in two weeks in Costa Rica.”

Brent, Anne, Marie and Oliver



Community Involvement

Our Crew  spent an afternoon in the neighboring town of Canaan helping the women’s group with their recycling program.  We sorted  bottles, cans, and paper and in exchange the women gave us all of their cardboard to be used as mulch around our new trees.  It was a fun afternoon and we met new people in our valley. 

In San Gerardo Linda is involved with the Project San Gerardo Committee,  helping organize community cultural activities at the Cafe Bambu.  So far we continue to have a weekly feria (farmers market), a movie night, bread baking classes, and lots of childrens activities. 

Cloudbridge and The Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Telecommunications ( Minaet ) have begun to converse about conservation and how we can collaborate in the future to protect and monitor wildlife and plants within the area. Some of the objectives of our partnership for improved environmental stewardship include having regular meetings, sharing data,  expanding our monitoring sites, and doing more environmental education with the schools.  







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