Prior to 1940 there was a single expanse of tropical forest from southeastern Mexico to southern Panama.
In Costa Rica, slash and burn agriculture reduced forest cover from 75% in 1940 to a low of 21% in 1987. These practices resulted in severe erosion, extensive watershed pollution, extinctions and threats to a wide variety of animals. Similar forest degradation happened throughout Central America.
Today the region is characterized by environmentally damaged landscapes due to unsustainable land use. In jeopardy are essential environmental processes such as the hydrological cycle and the recharge of aquifers, carbon capture, soil conservation, biological diversity and the heritage of genetic resources on which future generations may depend.
Costa Rica Forest Cover
Brothers Andrei and Pablo Gordienko, unnerved by the above devastation, purchased 1000 acres of denuded rainforest in 1990. Their goals included re-establishing the flightways of the Scarlet Macaw by restoring a year round food source.
Thirty years later, hundreds of thousands of mature trees and shrubs are thriving in a multilayered, biodiverse environment. This is what we now know as Santuario Macao; home to more than 350 species of birds, 25 species of mammals and countless other organisms.
Under the canopy of this regenerated forest amongst the wildlife, grows 25 acres of cacao in a successful Agroforestry system. The cacao becomes Macaw Kakau chocolate and is an endowment to CBR.
Pumas (apex predators) have begun to revisit this land and re-establish their territory. Macaws have returned to feed. This is biodiversity restoration.
Presently, the sanctuary is made up of a private reserve, an ecolodge, a center for eco-tourism, agroforestry production, a chocolate factory, and is home for The Center for Biological Diversity Restoration.
Our community recognizes the inherent value of Agroforestry and Biological Corridors for biodiversity to thrive. We work together to ensure this.
Photo: Santuario Macaw 1990
Photo: Pablo beginning restoration efforts circa 1990.