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Costa Rica Bosque de las Madres Biological Corridor

A vital link between the highest peak of Costa Rica, Cerro Chirripó, and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Bosque de las Madres (The Mothers' forest) offers a safe haven for many threatened species.

In 2021, the Costa Rica Government officially recognised the Bosque de las Madres Biological Corridor. This jurisdictional area of 17,100 hectares consists of virgin forests, secondary forests, farmland and wetlands. It constitutes a vital link between the highest peak of Costa Rica, Cerro Chirripó, and the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, thus connecting all 11 of 12 of Costa Rica’s ecozones.

The upper areas of the corridor lie within La Amistad International Biosphere Preserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

Relationship with Rainforest Concern and Fundación Cuencas de Limón (FCL)

Rainforest Concern´s working relationship with Fundación Cuencas de Limón goes back almost two decades, during which time Rainforest Concern has aided projects including the studies that were needed in order to define the best route for this biological corridor - work which was spearheaded by FCL.


Rainforest Concern and Fundación Cuencas de Limón are partnering to consolidate the Bosque de las Madres Biological Corridor through a variety of complementary activities designed to maintain and restore ecological continuity and biodiversity within Bosque de las Madres, and strengthen local populations and conservation minded land management along the Corridor.

Land acquisition: securing a structural belt

There is an immediate urgency to secure/purchase land along the connective belt of Bosque de las Madres Corridor. This is a priority for three main reasons:

  • to protect the still remaining untouched areas of forest
  • to ensure that these areas don’t become further degraded as they are under immense development pressure
  • to benefit from the current land prices, which are steadily increasing as settlers encroach
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Jaguars and other wild cats are regularly caught on our camera traps

Ecological and Social Importance

Vulnerable and threatened species

Jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarondis, and margays are regularly documented by wildlife cameras at the Selva Bananito Reserve, in the upper area of the Bosque de las Madres Corridor. Securing connectivity within the corridor will expand the altitudinal range for these felines.

Bosque de las Madres is considered a vital habitat for different types of amphibians and offers special living conditions for globally threatened amphibians such as the lemur leaf frog (Agalychnis lemur) and horned marsupial frog (Gastrotheca cornuta).

Other threatened animal species native to the corridor area are the neotropical otter, Endangered Baird`s tapir, the red-fronted parrotlet, great curassow, and the Critically Endangered great green macaw (Ara ambiguus), as well as endangered plant species such as the cigar boxwood (Cedrela odorata) and the Endangered large-leaved mahagony (Swietenia humilis).

Bird migration: The corridor is part of one of the most important habitats for bird migration in the world. La Amistad Biosphere Reserve hosts over 350 bird species, a third of which are North American migrants. The Talamanca lowlands constitute an important flyway for migrating raptors.

Coral reef integrity: The forest along the corridor reduces the amount of sedimentation that the rivers carry to the sea, which is threatening the health of the unique coral reefs along Costa Rica`s Atlantic coast.

Public health: The Bosque de las Madres Corridor protects the source of drinking water for 100,000 people in and around Puerto Limón, Costa Rica’s main population centre along the Caribbean coast. In the Caribbean region, rainfall is projected to decrease between 16% and 23% by 2100.

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Great green macaw

Environmental education

FCL carried out an award-winning campaign directed at 100,000 people, through which it increased awareness about the importance of local forests as a source of clean water for the region, and the importance of reducing illegal logging and poaching.

Currently, the programme is directed at adults and students and links scientific knowledge with activities that enhance memorable, personal connections with the forest, designed to increase participant´s willingness to change and take action. Workshops take place at schools and communities with at least one visit to the forest and educational centre at the higher region of the Bosque de las Madres Corridor. Special emphasis is given to the fact that humans depend on nature's ecosystem services.

The environmental education programme also includes larger scale activities, such as community fairs to raise local awareness and pride.

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Children learn about the importance of the corridor project under the environmental education programme

Rangers and air surveillance

Illegal logging, poaching, and squatting in forested areas is a common problem in Costa Rica. One of FCL´s ongoing endeavours since its creation has been the surveillance of key protected areas by park rangers and with periodic fly-overs (air surveillance), with subsequent reporting to law enforcement agencies. This type of reporting has led to legal action against transgressors.

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Aerial image of degraded forest

Jaguar and wildlife monitoring

Specially secured and hidden trap cameras have been instrumental in monitoring jaguars and other indicator species of ecological health in the area since 2014. Starting 2024, sound monitoring is going to be used in addition to the cameras to also monitor amphibians and birds.

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Map of Costa Rica showing the Bosque de las Madres Biological Corridor (red dotted line)