The Pearson Rainforest Reserve – Costa Rica

Sat, May 16, 2009

The Pearson Rainforest Reserve – Costa Rica

Pearson, the world’s leading education, business information and consumer publishing company has teamed up with CTF to create The Pearson Rainforest reserve in Costa Rica.

Pearson, owner of Pearson Education, The Financial Times and Penguin Group has joined forces with CTF to invest in the creation of a 300 hectare primary tropical rainforest reserve in Costa Rica’s pacific slope province of Guanacaste. The creation of the Pearson Rainforest reserve underlines the company’s commitment both to climate neutrality and environmental sustainability. This critically endangered area of primary forest supports over 30,000 species of plants, animals and birds as well as locking down 200,000 metric tonnes of carbon over the project’s life time of 5 years.

The Area de Conservacion Guanacaste

The specific target chosen for the initial phase of the Pearson/CTF project was to purchase and protect an criticalluy endangered forest bordering Costa Rica’s largest national park, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste in the extreme North-West of Costa Rica.

The logic of this choice was the long association that CTF UK has had with the ACG and one of its prime protagonists, American Biology Professor, Dan Janzen. CTF UK made its first donation to the ACG for rainforest purchase over 14 years ago in January 1998. This helped to rebuild a rainforest bridge across the Continental Divide between what were then two separate rainforest reserves in Northern Costa Rica, Guanacaste National Park on the drier Pacific slope and Rincon de la Vieja National Park on the wet Atlantic slope. All are now integrated into the larger Area de Conservacion Guanacaste.

CTF also made the final donation in June 2004 to complete the purchase of the 5,000 hectare Rincon Rainforest on the wet Atlantic slope section of the ACG.

Pearson & The Financial Times have picked up the ACG ball again with the commitment for a substantial donation over 5 years to purchase and save a further 250 hectares of lower to middle elevation, primary ACG Rainforest.

The ecological diversity of the ACG is so great that the creation of The Pearson Rainforest reserve, according to Dan Janzen, has added another 30,000 species of plants, birds, animals and insects to the 300,000 species already protected in the ACG. This includes 130 species indiginous (which means unique on Earth) to this new tract. And it will help to preserve the last large block of unprotected old-growth forest remaining in all of N.W. Costa Rica – more of which is available for purchase and protection.

The ACG is now a huge Reserve encompassing 120,000 hectares (around 300,000 acres) of terrestrial land stretching from the dry Pacific West Coast shore of Costa Rica across the mountainous Continental Divide on to the wet Atlantic slope - and 70,000 hectares (over 170,000 acres) of marine reserves stretching West into the Pacific Ocean. The 300,000 plus species it protects is estimated at an astonishing 2.5 per cent of the World’s land-based biodiversity.

The whole of the ACG is integrated into the Costa Rican National System of Conservation Areas which aims to protect 25 per cent of the Country’s land area.

And just an additional comment on the value of saving the World’s Rainforests. The process by which trees and plants manufacture their body tissue is called photosynthesis. They produce their own building blocks – carbohydrates – from carbon dioxide (hence carbon fixing) and water using sunlight energy. What, very curiously, is rarely mentioned in this process is that it also releases oxygen in huge quantites into the atmosphere – which we need to breath every five or six seconds to survive. Indeed, scientists believe that it was only because, at the dawn of life on Earth, blue-green algae and bacteria lived and grew by photosynthesis that an atmosphere which contained oxygen was created. There was none before! And no us!

The very last word should go to Pearson Foundation President, Mark Nieker:

“Preserving and protecting our natural resources is something everyone can help to do. Together with Pearson and the FT, we know we can do more to help CTF UK fight deforestation and combat climate change.”

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