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OASIS FORESTS, the restoration of the ecosystems is possible!

Updated: Feb 18

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OASIS FORESTS was conceived in 2002 in Costa Rica to determine if highly deforested and depleted agricultural and pastureland could be restored in such a way as to recreate a significant ecosystem in a reasonable amount of time. This soon evolved into also inspiring local private owners to conserve and restore forests, and to demonstrate and assist in providing individual owners to create alternate means of income as compared with traditional agriculture and cattle farming. The success of these projects then evolved into the idea to connect these types of conservation projects on a national scale to each other and to the national park system via “backbones” such as rivers, large streams, and existing or new land biological corridors. This interconnection allows for scattered conservation properties of any size to join for flora and fauna to have safe passage between all the separate private pieces and with the entire national park system to make one enormous public and private network to enhance the overall biodiversity of Costa Rica and each owner’s land. Finally, we realized that this idea could be implemented globally. It was envisioned as the only way in modern times to organize and join enough conservation land that could eventually equal or even exceed the total land mass of a contiguous national park or governmental nature reserve in order to assist in sustaining fauna that require vast amounts of land to survive. To demonstrate the ideas, it was decided to purchase two different types of properties as a proof of concept. Thus, what OASIS FORESTS proposes is already functioning with significant results from 22 years of experience. Finca Oasis Reforestation, a now restored rainforest of 11 hectares nestled in the foothills of Costa Rica’s Arenal volcano was the first property purchased by OASIS FORESTS, in 2004. This property was acquired as deforested and highly depleted agricultural and pastureland. It was decided to transform this property by attempting an intensive restoration process to return the property to how it was before in quality and diversity of flora in order to recreate a significant ecosystem and a sustainable income. Although a virgin forest can never be replaced, we believed that it could still be possible to recreate a forest with enough conditions to bring back a significant ecosystem in a reasonable amount of time. Since its purchase, over twelve thousand trees and palms, and also countless plants, vines, orchids and bromeliads were individually selected and planted to join the original fragments of forest adjacent to the rivers that were not utilized for agriculture. In total there are now more than 350 species of trees and palms of this zone and about 100 endangered species, both flora and fauna, from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Finca Oasis Reforestation has been transformed into a vigorous ecosystem that is home for mammals, birds (including visits from Great Green Macaws yearly since 2015), reptiles, amphibians, fish, fungi, invertebrates and is also a living seed bank. Oasis Reforestation Reserve is already close enough to Rio Arenal that the six types of wildcats of Costa Rica pass through, and we have had three visits from white-faced monkeys from the forest fragments connected to Rio Arenal. By restoring this depleted land, Finca Oasis Reforestation now produces its income from tourism and hosting conservation organization personnel.

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By: David Reuland Map source: Danny Córdoba-Alvarado and Cristina Weidlich-Hidalgo, 2023 / Instituto Geográfico Nacional, Proyecto Carta y Google Earth (1971, 2005 y 2023)

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