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Guanacaste Conservation Area: Hope for Mesoamerican Dry Forests

Along the side of the road that leads to the Santa Rosa mansion “La Casona”, there is a piece of original dry forest, probably the only one we will get to see in our lifetimes. Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG) research coordinator Roger Blanco says that here, surrounded by guapinol (West Indian locust or stinking toe), níspero (loquat) and cortez amarillo (golden trumpet) trees, the temperature drops by 5 degrees Celsius (a 9-degree drop in Fahrenheit). We sweat less.

A dry forest is not a handful of dead or dry tree trunks. It is actually a green space, full of life. This little patch proves it. It is a microclimate that transports us back hundreds of years ago, when livestock and agriculture had not yet wiped out most of the dry forest in the province. But it is not and will not be easy to find something like it in the rest of Mesoamerica (which goes from southern Mexico to Costa Rica).

In order for a recovered dry tropical forest to regenerate, it will need 200, 300, 400 years… and it might not ever succeed, says Blanco, holding his hat with one hand and making sweeping gestures with the other.

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Monday, April 27, 2020