– Kelly Galaski
Today we arrived in another rural area of Costa Rica, the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor. It is named after the ornithologist (bird biologist) that lived here on 100 acres of pristine rainforest for 60 years, with his wife, studying the birds and writing books about the nature he was surrounded by and the birds that fascinated him. Dr. Skutch is author of Birds of Costa Rica, the book carried by avid birdwatchers that visit the country. Today his home is preserved inside the Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary which is open to the public for birdwatching tours and to see the ancient petroglyphs that lie deep within the forest.
The â€œCorridorâ€ is so called because it is a designation given by the Ministry of Environment for areas that are between two protected nature reserves – in this case the Las Nubes cloud forest and Los Cusingos â€“ which has the goal of increasing the total forested area to create one larger forested area for species to have a broader range of habitat.
The communities within this corridor mostly have sugar cane, coffee farms or pasture and therefore the forested areas are fragmented or separated by open spaces which means that species cannot move easily throughout the area. This necessitates initiatives such as the community-run tree nursery which grows and sells trees to farmers to dispurse throughout their coffee farms to create more sustainable shade-grown coffee. This also creates a need for incentives for the people to plant more trees, therefore there is a need for more demand for shade-grown coffee, more awareness on the benefits the tree cover can provide, and for more tourism to the area so that they can benefit monetarily from preserving the private forested farms.