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The Last Hope for Tropical Dry Forests


View of La Casona; photo courtesy of La Voz de Guanacaste.

The regional newspaper, La Voz de Guanacaste, recently published an article, “Guanacaste, la última esperanza del bosque seco de Mesoamérica (Guanacaste, the Last Hope for Mesoamerican dry forests).” The article profiles Área de Conservación Guancaste (ACG) and its tropical dry forest ecosystem, and quotes Róger Blanco, ACG’s research coordinator, who says he has no doubt that ACG is our last hope to save and restore “in perpetuity” what remains of the dry forest ecosystem from Mexico to Costa Rica. The reason why there is still hope? Because, this article says, of two “crazy” scientists who count the forest’s insects. When Drs. Dan Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs first set out to restore the dry forests of northwestern Costa Rica, most scientists thought it was impossible and that they were crazy. Today, ACG is 169,000 hectares and contains four ecosystems: marine, dry forest, cloud forest, and rain forest. This biological connectivity between ecosystems is one reason, adds Blanco, there remains hope to save the dry forest in the face of climate change. “When you bake bread in the oven, you set the temperature to 180 C. If it is set to 187 C, the bread rises and burns because it is at the limit. The same happens in the dry forest. Dry forest species are at their tolerance limit,” says Blanco. The full article can be read here.

The "crazy" scientists, Drs. Winnie Hallwachs and Dan Janzen; photo by César Arroyo.