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For every m² rented, STORE ROOM purchases a m² of rainforest

Short Summary

The COBIGA - Biological Corridor La Gamba (Corredor Biológico La Gamba) project aims to connect the lowland rainforests of the Golfo Dulce with the mountain rainforests of the Fila Cal, a mountain range north of the Austrian Rainforest. COBIGA is in turn part of a network of biological corridors in Costa Rica, including the AMISTOSA Biological Corridor, which connects the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula with the Amistad National Park in the Talamanca Mountains.

The purchase of land and the reforestation of former fallow land is intended to prevent fragmentation of the forest and counteract genetic isolation and erosion.


Full description of the project

Due to economic, social and political developments, there has been massive deforestation in the tropics worldwide in recent decades, including in Central America and especially in Costa Rica. The establishment of large monocultures for the production of export goods such as bananas, oil palms, pineapples and the development of extensive cattle pastures for meat production, led to the destruction of primary habitats and to severe fragmentation of the remaining forests. In Costa Rica, the dramatic deforestation was at least slowed down in 1996 due to a restrictive forestry law.

The reforestation and renaturation of former intensively used agricultural land is becoming increasingly important and is a challenging task. Each site has a different history and needs to be specifically studied and reforestation measures assessed. While some sites can be left to themselves and naturally develop a species-rich secondary forest within years (sometimes decades), on other sites no forest grows for decades. For example, on land that was originally intensively used, the soil is usually very compacted and the natural seed bank destroyed, so that natural succession is only partially possible or not possible at all. On these sites, we plant selected native tree species, which results in the development of a near-natural forest.

The species selection is large and ranges from very fast-growing trees to slow-growing hardwoods. In total, up to 200 different tree species from the region are planted. The young trees are either grown in the tree nursery of the Finca Modelo or produced by local farmers who are enrolled beforehand. After planting, the young trees are cared for for three years and cleared of grass, lianas and climbing plants and fertilized several times with earthworm compost. After that, the trees are left to themselves, allowing a pristine forest to develop again.

In addition to forest restoration, we work together with local farmers and try to develop a simple forestry concept. Depending on the location, we select economically interesting tree species and plant them on the fincas. Within 10 years, some of the trees can already be used as roundwood. Trees that have been removed are then to be replanted. In this way, a forest corridor is also created, the primary forest is protected and the farmers have construction timber at their disposal.

In the course of the COBIGA project, the book Creando un bosque – Creation of a forest was created. This book explains in simple language the importance of reforestation and corridor formation, and provides practical instructions on how to cultivate and plant trees.

The project is scientifically accompanied by the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences. The project is financed in cooperation with the Verein Regenwald der ÖsterreicherRegenwald Luxemburg and other private sponsors.