Fundación Cuencas de Limón (FCL), or Limon Watershed Foundation, was established in response to indiscriminate logging in the southeastern mountain region of Costa Rica, and to the deterioration of water quality in the area's rivers due to natural and man-made causes, including large-scale agriculture. FCL has nonprofit status under the laws of Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, FCL receives financial and logistical support from Selva Bananito Lodge. These are important matters to consider for someone considering Costa Rica travel.
In the U.S.A., both the Rosewood Foundation and the Costa Rica-Minnesota Foundation collect donations for FCL. Donations through these two organizations are tax-deductible for US-citizens. Information can be obtained by e-mailing: FCLimon@costarica.com
GOALS OF THE FUNDACION CUENCAS DE LIMON
To protect as much as possible of the rain forest vegetation growing along the upper watershed areas of the Banano, Gobán, Estrella, and Bananito Rivers in the Province of Limón, Costa Rica. The emphasis is on the latter, since it is the primary water source for Puerto Limón, the country's main city on the Caribbean Coast.
A List for Those Supporting Eco-Conscious Costa Rica Travel
- To retain the services of an environmental lawyer who tends to the legal aspects of running a Fundación and oversees forestry inspectors as they monitor logging and hunting activities in the areas -private and public- whose protection the Fundación aims to support.
- To expand the biological buffer zone along the eastern boundaries of La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, which consists of numerous national parks, wildlife reserves, and Indian reserves, and is Central America's largest, protected expanse, over one million hectares or two and a half million acres in size.
- To hire guards to patrol and report illegal logging and hunting activities within Reserva Selva Bananito and adjacent, protected land.
- To monitor illegal activities in the region's parks and reserves with satellite data and occasional surveillance flights.
- To conduct regular surveys of the land protected under the efforts of the Fundación, both private and public, in order to discover its natural treasures and to pinpoint areas in need of protection, stabilization, or reconstruction.
- To sponsor educational workshops for and with inhabitants of the region, with the purpose of increasing knowledge about the rain forest and the need to protect it and/or use its resources in a sustainable manner. This effort includes educating regional farmers about existing environmental protection laws that offer financial compensation to those who set aside portions of their land for conservation, or engage in sustainable management practices. It also includes indoor and outdoor workshops for rural school children. Those participating in Costa Rica travel are also encouraged to self-educate.
- To establish sister school relationships between schools in developed countries and schools in the rural areas relevant to the Fundación's activities.
- To support infrastructure improvements in the schools and communities along the Bananito River.
- To expand conservation efforts to other river basins of the Province in future years. The entire southern watershed zone of the Limón Province was seriously damaged by the 1991 earthquake, which destroyed large tracts of primary rain forest along the Talamanca Mountains and destabilized mountain slopes. Flooding has become a common problem since 1991. The fragility of these ecosystems and the health of the water in the region's rivers are further threatened by numerous illegal logging operations as well as polluting, non-sustainable agricultural practices. It is essential that those engaging in Costa Rica travel remain aware of the ecosystems' extreme sensitivities.
- To establish a small scientific research station within Reserva Selva Bananito and to purchase basic laboratory equipment, so that a limited number of biological and agricultural researchers may carry out their work there on a regular basis.
- To become involved in, or lend support to, any environmentally and socially friendly projects or organizations which the Fundación regards of benefit to its overall goals in the region. Such involvement will depend on the budget available to the Fundación at the time the opportunity of involvement arises.
Even though good environmental laws exist in Costa Rica on paper, it is often up to private individuals (such as those enjoying Costa Rica travel) to report irregularities and act as witnesses to the enforcement of existing laws. The national park administration in Costa Rica lacks the human, financial, and technical resources to enforce environmental laws in remote areas such as those surrounding Reserva Selva Bananito.
Since its establishment in 1997, FCL has made good progress towards its goals. An important change in local farmers' attitudes towards illegal, unmonitored logging activities in the area has been noticed. In the past, almost without exception, farmers have tolerated or even participated in illegal wood extraction from nearby park land. In recent months, however, local farmers have begun reporting illegal logging activities to FCL. This change is attributed in attitudes directly to the educational workshops which FCL has been offering to the region's farmers, and to the degree of involvement in local decision making which FCL has encouraged.
We ask all those interested in Costa Rica travel to stay abreast of these issues, even while they are enjoying the country's vast pleasures. For more information, visit the Limon Watershed Foundation website.