High in the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range in Costa Rica is an ecological treasure – 26,000 acres of tropical rainforest, called the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. In this cloud forest, there are 6 different ecological zones and an extremely high rate of biodiversity. You can find 2,500+ plant species, 100 mammal species, 400 bird species, 120 amphibian/reptile species, and tens of thousands of insect species.
What makes a Cloud Forest? It’s an unusual location, with high altitude and a steady supply of clouds for moisture. The Monteverde Cloud Reserve is 4,662 feet above sea level, and is surrounded by clouds, fog, and plenty of moisture. This moisture drips slowly down the rainforest, nourishing life as it goes.
- Watch this video on how a cloud forest works
- Of those large numbers of plant species, the largest number of orchids in the world can be found in the Monteverde region – over 500 species! Read this article on orchids – and how they are pollinated by hummingbirds and other birds. Discuss how nature evolves to keep alive – how orchids and hummingbirds are shaped for pollination.
- Conservation is extremely important in Costa Rica. Eco travel writer Bret Love, who has spent much time in Costa Rica, notes, “From Tortuguero National Park (on the Caribbean coast) and Corcovado National Park (on the Osa Peninsula) to the lofty elevations of Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica has proven itself a model of conservation over the past 25 years. Corcovado alone boasts a full 5% of the planet’s biodiversity. From monkeys, sloths and tapirs to an endless array of frogs, birds and butterflies, Costa Rica is a nature-lover’s dream come true… not to mention an amazing illustration of the benefits of responsible ecotourism.” Check out his article on the top 5 Eco attractions in Costa Rica, and then conservation in more detail atCosta Rica’s Tortuguero National Park. Then take a look at the sustainability efforts of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, including behavior, products that can be used, chemicals and products that are not allowed, etc. Why do you think conservation is so important for both the environment, and for tourism? Discuss locations and conservation efforts around the world – what can destinations – and tourists – do to increase conservation?
- Discover the animals of the Monteverde Cloud Forest in this hidden camera video. Ways that YOU can get around the Cloud Forest Reserve include walking trails, skywalking (using lines, bridges, and platforms up in the air!), and ziplining/rappelling. If you can’t get to Costa Rica right now, take a look at some of the flora, fauna, and birds of the area. Why do you think Costa Rica – an island! – has so much biodiversity?