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 their 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
Caribbean 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
deer, jaguar, ocelot and puma. Near where you stay or on trail you may see
coatimundi, arboreal anteaters, three-toed sloths, howler, spider and
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.