Together, the protected natural areas of Monteverde constitute an area of over 28000 hectares or 69000 acres, and is one of largest networks of private preserves in Central America, protecting some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems. The following are some of the major ones.
In 1972, seeing the threat under which the forests in Monteverde were, the scientist George Powell and his wife joined resident Wilford Guidon to establish a natural preserve. The Tropical Science Center was receptive of these efforts and accepted institutional responsibility for the foundation, possession and administration of the future reserve. When it was founded, the reserve had only 328 hectares (810 acres), but in 1975 under an administrative agreement, the hydrographic reserve Bosque Eterno S.A which had 554 hectares (1368 acres) and founded in the mid 60s by members of the Quaker community was incorporated.
After the creation of the reserve, the Tropical Science Center continued searching for the economic and human resources needed to protect, expand, and consolidate the Reserve. Today it has an extension of more than 10,500 hectares (25,946 acres).
The Monteverde Conservation League is a non –profit organization devoted to the conservation of tropical forests. Its mission is to preserve and rehabilitate tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity. Founded in Monteverde in 1986 to accomplish this mission, it immediately started a campaign of land purchase that would soon lead to the establishment of the largest private preserve in Central America: the Children’s Eternal Rainforest.
In 1987, a group of children in Sweden, concerned about the loss of tropical forest covers, asked themselves what could be done to save the forest. They came up with activities, raised money, and sent the Monteverde Conservation Leage the funds to purchase and protect land near Monteverde. That land is now a part of the Children’s Eternal Rainforest and its story gave it its name.
Since its development, the Children’s Eternal Rainforest caught the attention of people around the world, especially children and teachers, due to its very special foundation story. It has since expanded with the generous donations of many people around the world.
The Santa Elena Reserve has a unique philosophy. Its goal is to protect the cloud forest AND to provide funds for the Santa Elena Public High School, so that it can offer quality education to local youth with a strong environmental element. Educating the residents of Monteverde, they believe, will ensure the well being of the cloud forest in the long run.
The Santa Elena Preserve comprises an area of 310 hectare or 765 acres, but plans are underway to raise funds to buy and restore adjacent farmlands for future inclusion into the Santa Elena Reserve.
Conservation efforts in the area are concentrating on establishing forest corridors radiating from the central conservation area down the lower altitudes as many of the forest fauna, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, American Pumas, Jaguars, Ocelots, and Red Brocket Deer require large territories in which to forage and breed.
Located in the heart of the Monteverde community, Curi Cancha offers a system of all natural trails that go through Premontane and Lower Montane primary and secondary Cloud Forest, two of the most critical life zones for the reproduction and survival of emblematic and endangered species such as the Resplendant Quetzal and the Three Wattled Bellbird. It also provides habitat for three species of monkeys and other mammals including two toed sloths, agoutis, coatis, and pumas, as well as a checklist of 185 species of birds.
With a limited amount of visitors per day for a more private and intimate approach to nature, Curi Cancha offers a great opportunity to enjoy the essence of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.