Project Report:
Emergency Funds to Conserve the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, Costa Rica
Monteverde cloud forest looking toward Peñas Blancas

Purpose
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.

Summary

Costa Rica has a payment for ecosystem services program that helps support The Children’s Eternal Rainforest. This 22,600-hectare reserve plays a critical role in conserving Costa Rica’s biodiversity. It provides water for communities and hydroelectricity and is the center of a block of protected areas that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region annually. Other important income for protecting the CER comes from visitation by ecotourists and students. A $51,500 grant from the Walker Foundation in 1993 helped fund the construction of the San Gerardo Field Station with the goal of generating ecotourism revenue. However, the economic crisis caused by the COVID19 pandemic has triggered a sudden, complete lack of tourist-derived income, putting the very existence of the CER at risk. We request $50,000 in emergency funding to ensure the survival of the CER until our market-based revenue sources stabilize and new sources of income can be developed.

Description

Greetings from Monteverde! We are in full December mode, with gusty winds and plenty of mist, with a few rainbows when the sun manages to shine through. I hope you and your families are well.

Here at the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, we’ve been busy keeping all of our proverbial bases covered in terms of forest protection and administration, while also reactivating visitation to the extent possible/reasonable. Bajo del Tigre (in Monteverde) has been open since August and visitation has grown little by little each month. At Pocosol (over on the Caribbean edge of the BEN) we have just begun to open the trails on weekends and are starting to get a few visitors (including many neighbors who’ve been itching to hike around for the past months and haven’t been able to do so!) Meantime, work related to maintenance, protection, and administration never seems to diminish… The funds received from the Alex C. Walker Foundation have been crucial in maintaining basic operations during this difficult time.

Our Director of Land Affairs, Yuber, has had his hands full with the usual payment for ecosystem services (PES) applications and paperwork, but we are also applying for funding via new initiatives, such as the Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreement and Green Climate Fund. This is especially important as it appears typical PES payments via FONAFIFO will be drastically reduced in 2021 due to COVID-related economic factors (funds are based on a fuel tax, no one did much driving in 2020… etc.) We are also continuing to explore ideas for future projects and more stable funding sources for the BEN. I’ve met recently with a couple of board members, and I also had a great conversation with Ron Carroll a couple weeks ago on this topic.

Thanks to the Alex C. Walker Foundation for your generous support of the BEN. I am encouraged (I suspect I’m not alone here) by news of various effective COVID vaccines, and also by the possibility of better management of the pandemic in the coming months. When it’s safe and reasonable to travel again, we look forward to hosting you in person here in Costa Rica!

Purpose

The Children's Eternal Rainforest is an essential component of what creates a market-based economy centered on ecotourism and academic groups. Reciprocally, part of that economic activity helps to make the CER sustainable (in normal, non-pandemic times), and in turn, as a direct result, protect one the world's biodiversity hotspots, provide water for hundreds of communities and farms downstream, as well as for about a half dozen hydroelectricity projects that produce roughly a third to half Costa Rica's electricity, depending on the season. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted local, national, and international economies, significant reducing income from ecotourism in Costa Rica, while also reducing government support for conservation activities.

Scope

We seek to secure partial funding ($50,000 of an estimated $638,666) to maintain essential operations of the Monteverde Conservation League, the organization that owns and protects the Children's Eternal Rainforest, from July 2020 to December 2021. This will help to compensate for economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. MCL has already reduced operations to a minimum, cutting 20% of staff positions and reducing working hours of remaining staff by 50%. These cutbacks come at a time when we can least afford them, since increased unemployment in the communities that border the CER has caused an increase in illegal activities within the reserve. Essential operations (described in greater detail below in Purpose of Grant) include guard patrols; maintenance of property boundaries; trails and infrastructure; environmental education and community outreach; basic administrative positions; and equipment associated with essential tasks.

Amount Approved
$25,000.00 on 10/16/2020 (Check sent: 10/29/2020)


Attachments
Staff Monteverde & Children's Rainforest
Monteverde cloud forest looking toward Peñas Blancas

Contacts


Ms. Lindsay Stallcup
Executive Director, Monteverde Conservation League

Posted 9/21/2020 3:21 PM
Updated   1/25/2021 12:25 PM



Staff Monteverde & Children's Rainforest
Staff Monteverde & Children's Rainforest

 
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