Reforestation Effectiveness and Success in a Cloud Forest

Reforestation has become an integral part of the larger habitat restoration effort. As a relatively simple, successful, and opportune way to replenish lost ecosystems, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen countless stories of reforestation all throughout the globe. So long as there are hands to plant, sun to shine, and water to nourish, the basic necessities are already available.

The trees first grow from seed in our vivero (greenhouse) until they’re about a foot high – then they’re planted one by one as needed.

Yet, there is somewhat of science to it – at least, if you’re looking for a close-to-guaranteed positive result. As with any plant, different tree species need specific environments in order for them to thrive. For example, a tropical rainforest will have different requirements than a temperate rainforest. And while matching the species to the environment is a good first step, it still is probable that it will take some trial and error until the real results begin to show.

Planting trees is still part of the Cloudbridge mission, although we’re running out of room to plant more!

At Cloudbridge, the principal mission was to reforest the land that had been cleared for agricultural use. Although surrounded by forest and by the Chirripó National Park, the direct area that is now Cloudbridge property was widely barren. Over the course of the last two decades, 50,000 trees were planted to ensure that this land would be forest once again. In 2024, this has largely been achieved as we now must sit and wait for the trees to fill in. But even as recent as 2015, was this the same story?

Side by side comparison of the land in 2002 versus 2017.

Researcher Kendall DeLyser was interested to see the true results of the reforestation project, as in 2015 there had been about 13 years of regrowth and replanting efforts. Sometimes, simply planting a tree in any area may not be enough. Is there enough diversity? Are the species native? Is it a climax, or a pioneer species? By measuring some of these variables, Kendall was able to identify some of these variables, and make a prediction about the success of the reforestation efforts for the future. To see what their results were, you can read their paper here.

Study sites used for this research report. (Photo: Kendall DeLyser)

Suggested Reading:

  • Successful reforestation methodologies are important to share, as they boost the global knowledge of what works, and what doesn’t work. While there are different methods to get it done, the most essential step is to assess the land first to predict what method would work best.
  • If you’ve never heard of a pioneer or climax tree species before, this fact sheet gives a good run down on what that means. Basically, does a tree live fast and die young, or grow slow and steady until they’re ancient giants?
  • If you’re local to the San Gerardo area, and are interested in reforesting your property, we can help you! Now that we’ve almost reached planting capacity, we’re offering services to sell and plant trees in your property upon request. If this is something you’re interested in, please reach out to, or +506 8856 5519.

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