The Project

THE PROJECT

Waterfall at Cloudbridge Nature ReserveIn 2002 Ian and Genevieve (Jenny) Giddy purchased a 60-hectare cattle farm that borders the Chirripó National Park in southern Costa Rica. Subsequently the reserve was extended with the purchase of more small cattle farms to include the areas we call Cloudbridge North,  Gavilan,  Catedral Verde,  Los Quetzales and El Jilguero. Cloudbridge now comprises about 700 acres. . The property includes a significant portion of riparian and high-altitude mountainside virgin forest. Cattle grazing and its consequent denuding and erosive effects on the land have been halted. In parts of the reserve, natural regrowth is taking place.

Preservation

Goal: To preserve a precious part of the tropical world, forever. Cloudbridge includes an important piece of existing natural cloud forest with an enormous diversity of tropical trees, birds, insects and other flora and fauna. The property includes a significant portion of riparian and high-altitude mountainside forest. Cloud forest foliage and epiphytes have a unique capacity to capture moisture in the air. Thus through their impact on the air, water and soil quality, flood control, climate patterns, and numerous known and unknown plant and animal species, cloud forests profoundly affect life surrounding them and life around the planet.

Rebuilding

Goal: To help rebuild a deforested part of the tropical cloud forest, thus bridging a gap between two mountainside forests. As well as protecting the existing forest and allowing natural regrowth, we are planting a mix of native trees, thousands of them, to turn pasture back into forest.

Protect the Biodiversity

Goal: Restoring and preserving the native forest to protect the biodiversity for which the neotropical forests, and those in Costa Rica in particular, are so famous. Deforestation is causing the loss of about 100 species every day — 4 species per hour. Preserving forest and planting trees also helps offset air pollution. As they grow, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air. This project is but a tiny step to counteract global climate change, but every tree matters.

Research and Education

Goal: To understand the cloud forest ecology, and to observe the variety of flora and fauna.From its beginnings as a reforestation project, Cloudbridge research has evolved into an ongoing series of studies of the cloud forest. Some work is repeated year after year, to gauge the progress of the forest’s recovery — examples include the biomonitoring, plantation and moss recovery studies. Others focus on a particular aspect of the flora or fauna — one study, for example, sought to measure the diversity of bromeliad species in the primary forest and in open areas.

Visit the Reserve – hike for a day, stay for a week…

A further objective is to allow people to visit — to see the progress of the plantation and to hike the Reserve’s steep slopes and enjoy the views of the valleys and waterfalls. Hiking trails have been laid out and, with volunteers and villagers’ assistance, are gradually being improved.

Volunteering

Only by experiencing it, can people truly gain an understanding how precious are our diminishing tropical forests. We offer opportunities for volunteers and scientific researchers where they can contribute to the well-being of the planet. The type of research needed is on the ecology of the area, rehabilitation of pasture land, water quality, the different species of plant, animal and bird life, from the lowly slime molds to the resplendent quetzal, the most glorious of birds to grace the forests of Central America.

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