Terra Folia

The Importance of Rainforests

Tropical Diversity

After a visit to one of the world's tropical rainforests, you begin to understand the special importance of these areas to our planet's enduring health and vitality. Forests have been called "the lungs of the Earth" for 'Lovers Lips' Flowertheir important role in dissipating toxic imbalances in our atmosphere.

Covering only seven percent of our land area, tropical forests also provide refuge for nearly half of all plant and animal species on Earth, and neotropical rainforests like those in Costa Rica and the Amazon basin are the most species-rich environments anywhere in the world.

In his book, Biodiversity (National Academy Press, Washington, DC: 1988), renowned Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson suggests that, beyond the 1.4 million species of organisms described to date, there are probably another 5 to 30 million species we have yet to discover, catalogue, and investigate. As our scientific database on tropical ecology expands, finally we are beginning to understand the critical importance of the world's rainforests for the future of medicine, commerce, species diversity, and cultural survival.

Will a rare epiphyte provide a critical chemical component in the war against H.I.V. virus? Or will we bear silent witness as millions more acres of tropical forest disappear, thousands more species become extinct (currently one every 20 minutes), and our remaining wilderness areas continue to degrade at the hands of undisciplined 'economic development'?

Native Flora and Fauna

Terra Folia is considered a "buffer zone" for Braulio Carrillo National Park which encompasses over 1000 square kilometers of protected wildlife habitat and ranges from volcanoes in the Central Cordillera over 10,000 feet to the Stained-Glass Window PalmCaribbean plains near sea level. This important migratory corridor boasts one of the highest levels of biodiversity on the entire planet.

In the immediate area of forest surrounding Terra Folia, more than 340 different species of birds have been identified, including large numbers of parrots, hawks, hummingbirds, tanagers and toucans, and unique species like the Crested Guan, the Resplendant Quetzal, the Solitary Eagle, the Three-Wattled Bellbird, and the Umbrella Bird. Among the many interesting mammals in the area are Collared peccary, Baird's tapir, agouti, brocket 'Blue Jeans' Poison Dart Frogdeer, jaguar, ocelot and puma. Near where you stay or on trail you may see coatimundi, arboreal anteaters, three-toed sloths, howler, spider and white-face monkeys.

This is a fantastic area for 'herps' (reptiles and amphibians). 'Poison-arrow frogs' are very common. Fortunately, sightings of Fer-de-Lance and Bushmaster are less frequent. At Terra Folia you are just a short walk to most of the plant species endemic to Braulio Carrillo National Park, including striking heliconias, valuable hardwoods, a 400 million year-old species of tree fern (the oldest tree species), the unique plastic plant, and the endangered Stained-Glass Window Palm which occurs nowhere else on Earth.

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