The Tirimbina Rainforest Center, which was declared a Wildlife Refuge in December of 2001 according to the MINAE 29998 Act, consists of 345 continuous hectares of forest as well as an island (6ha), formed by the Sarapiquí River. It is surrounded by other private properties, thus together forming an area of more than 600 hectares of forest.
According to the Holdridge life zone system, the Reserve has two life zones: very humid Pre-Montane Forest with transition to Basal (bmh-P) and very humid Tropical Forest (bmh-T). The forest is a combination of areas that historically had different uses, but for the last forty years has been in a state of regeneration. A walk through the Reserve reveals areas of secondary forest and abandoned cacao plantations. However, the majority (85%) is primary forest.
There is a great variety of species to be found in the forest, such as: Andiroba (Carapa nicaraguensis), bully tree (Hyeronima alcheornoides), Monkey's Comb (Apeiba membranacea), Panamá (Sterculia sp.), acariquara (Minquartia guianensis), Surá (Terminalia lucida), breu (Protium sp), virola (Virola sp), Roble coral (Terminalia bucidioides), Golden Goddess, or Golden Trumpet Tree, (Tabeuia chrysanta), Barbados cedar (Cedrela odorata), Kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), Botarrama (Vochysia ferruginea), White yemeri (Vochysia guatemalensis), Oil tree (Pentaclethra macroloba), Guácimo Colorado (Luehea seemanii), Mountain almendro, (Dypterix panamensis), Monkey pot (Lecythis ampla), as well as the Lorito (Vantanea sp.).
A study at the permanent CATIE sites, which monitors the total of species with more than 2.5cms D.B.H., found that 304 species belong to 76 families and 186 genus, confirming the presence of 2,722 individuals per hectare at the Reserve. Of these, 14% were of the Rubiaceae family, 11% of the Areacaceae family and 8% of the Fabaceae family.. (Delgado et al, 1997)
The Reserve is also home to a great quantity of fauna. More than 300 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles, 30 species of amphibians and 89 species of mammals (59 species of bats) have been identified. Out of all these, the following species stand out: white bats (Ectophylla alba), Grison (Gallictis vittata), Tolomuco (Eira barbara), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Anteater (Tamandua mexicana), White-fronted Nunbird, White-throated Manakin, migratory hawks, Flycatchers, Trogons and Motmots.
The main purposes of the Tirimbina Rainforest Center are the following:
• Conservation of the ecosystems present at the Reserve in order to maintain its biodiversity.
• The development of an Environmental Education Program which uses the resources available at the Reserve as an open laboratory for students from the Sarapiquí area as well as national students.
• Promote scientific research
• Promote ecotourism
Tirimbina makes an effort to connect to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, thus contributing to the increase in area available for wildlife communities in this region. For this reason, TRC has been working at a strategy to build a Biological Corridor at a local level. To achieve this goal, it has involved forest owners and nearby communities in different ways.
TRC also participates in other regional efforts, like:
COMMISSION OF NATURAL RESOURCES OF SARAPIQUÍ (CRENASA)
Tirimbina is an active member of CRENASA, a discussion forum which unites more than 10 local organizations who, together, try to solve regional environmental issues.
Since 1998, CRENASA has dedicated itself to unite efforts, avoid duplication and to increase coverage of the area it influences. All this is made possible through the various programs that member organizations offer.
Some of the activities that have been established and maintained through CRENASA are: environmental education to the majority of schools in the Sarapiquí basin (a total of more than 150), the Environment Day Parade and the Water Day Parade. Currently it is working to strengthen its first recycling project in Sarapiquí.
LA SELVA-SAN JUAN BIOLOGICAL CORRIDOR
In 2001, a group of 15 local, national and international organizations, encouraged by the Central American Biological Corridor, united to form a strategic alliance to create the La Selva-San Juan Biological Corridor. Since then, these organizations, including Tirimbina, have been working to consolidate a protected core area (Maquenque Park) in the northern part of the country and achieved to connect forested areas in its targeted region. A series of programs to involve the civil society with this initiative have also been set up.
By protecting this area, it is assuring the protection of the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambigua), the almond tree (Dypterix panamensis), the manatee (Trichechus manacus) and the jaguar (Panthera onca), as well as 6000 species of vascular plants, 515 species of birds, 139 species of mammals, 135 species of reptiles and 80 species of amphibians.
The San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor achieves connections between patches of forest of the Central Volcanic Range, La Selva Biological Station in the North, Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge and the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica as well as with the Indio-Maiz Biological Reserve, Punta Gorda and Cerro Silva on the Southeast of Nicaragua.
For more information, please visit: www.lapaverde.or.cr
NETWORK OF PRIVATE RESERVES
With more than 100 members, the Network of Private Reserves unites interested forest owners, conserving their properties and offering an economical option that does not put biodiversity at risk. The network looks for economical opportunities for these owners. Tirimbina has been part of this network since 2001.