Species monitoring and natural history studies
Knowledge of biological diversity, and its ability to generate services for human well-being, provides essential tools for communities and societies at the local, regional, and national levels to improve management decisions on ecosystem integrity protection. Biodiversity is the basis of ecosystem functioning and the services it provides. Multiple natural and ecological processes between species are responsible for regulating the flow of energy and matter and maintaining critical functions such as carbon fixation and oxygen production.
Our organization has focused on monitoring taxonomic groups with bioindicator species, threatened or essential to ecosystem functioning. Therefore, beetles, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals have been prioritized. Monitoring efforts have been carried out in the Central Caribbean of Costa Rica within the legally established Lemur Frog Biological Corridor (SINAC), which includes the Veragua Rainforest Reserve, the Bajo Chirripó indigenous reserve, and buffer zones of La Amistad International Park. Thanks to our long-term monitoring, this region is recognized as one of the most biodiverse places in the world. More information about our biodiversity monitoring projects is here!
Currently, temperature increases, changes in rainfall patterns, and variations in relative humidity are the primary outcomes of climate change in tropical forests. It has been documented that this accelerated change has significant consequences on biodiversity, which can cause ecological imbalances such as changes in reproductive phenology, variations in the prey-predator relationship, and the development and survival of embryos. Climate change, added to other causes such as a change in land use and infectious diseases, causes loss of biodiversity and, therefore, loss of functionality and the ability to produce ecosystem services.
The Veragua Foundation has established different projects that seek to understand the relationship between climate and phenology, development, and other ecological aspects, to elaborate predictive models that help to take accurate conservation actions, considering climate predictions for future years. Learn more about our project here!
Within the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in the United Nations Agenda 20-30, SDGs 14 and 15 refer to the reconstruction and strengthening of the integrity and function of ecosystems to ensure the benefits they provide to current and future generations. At the same time, these SDGs contribute to meeting 41 of the targets set out in 12 SDGs.
For this reason, the Veragua Foundation has prioritized ecosystem restoration projects focusing on the recovery of lentic environments (lagoons and ponds), and reforestation with native species in strategic areas that primarily protect water resources and connectivity. These projects are based on our biological monitoring, ecological studies, and measurements of climatic and anthropogenic effects on biodiversity. Learn more about these projects here!
Ecosystem services (ES) have been defined as ecosystems’ direct or indirect contributions to human well-being. According to the types of contribution, the ES has been grouped into three main categories: Provisioning, regulation, and cultural services. Provisioning services consist of products obtained directly from ecosystems through labor or technology. Regulation services provide indirect benefits but are vital to life, such as water purification, air quality, soil erosion control, maintenance of fertile soils, climate regulation, or plant pollination. Finally, cultural services are associated with experiences that include benefits such as recreation, ecotourism, relaxation, artistic inspiration, and being part of religious or spiritual activities.
The Veragua Foundation has as a priority the protection of ES. In addition, our organization develops and promotes projects to carry out comprehensive assessments of ES in the region, including a biophysical, sociocultural, and monetary analysis. The United Nations has insisted on the importance of carrying out these assessments so that decision-makers, or those responsible for formulating policies, are better informed to direct their projects with more accurate decisions in the sustainable management and use of resources. Learn more about these projects here!