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The Rain Forest and the Beach Collaborate


Participants in the meeting of the communities at the Junquillal Wildlife Refuge

This past week, two communities on the border of Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) came together to engage and share knowledge about conservation. Representatives from Dos Ríos de Upala – located on the rain forest side of ACG – came to the Junquillal Wildlife Refuge - near the coastal village of Cuajiniquil - to learn more about the community initiative that resulted in the co-management of the wildlife refuge. In Junquillal, the community co-manages the refuge, along with ACG, and a share of the revenue returns directly to the community. The Dos Ríos community is seeking to replicate this initiative in its region, and promote more ecotourism and other economic opportunities for those who live on the rain forest side of ACG. It’s one way that ACG is working to promote the active participation of communities in conservation through biodevelopment: The use of ecosystem biodiversity without causing harm, so that society integrates into and values the protected area and supports its conservation. As ACG/GDFCF Socio-Economic Coordinator Selena Avendaño, who is working with the Dos Ríos community on its effort, says, “The goal of this meeting was to have a moment to share and to create networking and collaborative opportunities, empowering action. The meeting was a success because it offered a space for the participants to reflect on the process of promoting community organization and seeing that despite its challenges, it can bring plenty of opportunities.” And, she adds, “We have already seen the results in the Dos Ríos community as they are further developing the organizational structure that is required to manage a new visitation center on ACG land.”