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1 EVOLUTION OF PROTECTED AREA CONSERVATION IN MONTEVERDE, COSTA RICA By JASON DAVIS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007
2 2007 Jason Davis
3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Brian Chil d, Jack Davis and Eric Keys fo r advising this thesis and the Center for Latin American Studies for providing financial support for field research. I would also like to than the Monteverde Institute and the Mo nteverde residents who participated in this project.
4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................3 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........5 LIST OF FIGURES................................................................................................................ .........6 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................... .8 Geography...................................................................................................................... ...........9 Costa Rican Deforestation......................................................................................................12 2 MONTEVERDE HISTORY..................................................................................................17 3 PROTECTED AREAS...........................................................................................................22 Quaker Watershed Reserve.....................................................................................................23 Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve........................................................................................27 The MCFP in Context............................................................................................................ .29 The Monteverde Conservation L eague, Expanding Conservation.........................................32 Conservation Outreach.......................................................................................................... .35 Conservation Outside Reserves, Lim its to Protected Area Conservation..............................37 4 TOURISM........................................................................................................................ ......41 Tourism and Monteverde protected areas...............................................................................42 Tourism Growth and the Monteverde Economy....................................................................46 Tourism Impacts: Cons ervation and Community...................................................................50 5 VIEWPOINTS ON CONSERVATION.................................................................................56 Biologists and Social Developmentalists........................................................................56 Monteverde as Model?...........................................................................................................58 APPENDIX RESEARCH METHODS AND SUBJECTS........................................................62 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..64 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................68
5 LIST OF TABLES Table page A-1 Monteverde residents interv iewed and their affiliation.....................................................63
6 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Timeline of expanding roles for protected areas in Africa.....................................................14 1-2 Timeline of expanding roles for Monteverde protected areas................................................14 1-3 Life zone map of Cost a Rica showing position of M onteverde Reserve Complex................15 1-4 Deforestation in Costa Rica............................................................................................... .....16 4-1 Number of visitors per year, Cloud Forest Preserve..............................................................55
7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science EVOLUTION OF PROTECTED-AREA CONSERVATION IN MONTEVERDE, COSTA RICA By Jason Davis August 2007 Chair: Brian Child Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology Protected areas play a vital role in the conservation of natura l systems. Often, scholars and policy makers maintain a limited understanding of protected areas by failing to understand them as the product of peoples changing ideas about conservation. In realit y, protected areas are complex entities that can be better understood in light of their historical development and the local, regional, national and inte rnational contexts in which they are created and managed. Monteverde, Costa Rica offers a distinctive case study of protect ed-area development. It is home to a protected area network that has grow n in both area and scope to protect watersheds and regional biodiversity, provi de recreation for foreign touris ts, and serve the economic needs of local communities. The various stages in th e evolution of the protected area network were driven by the changing needs and desires of locals and trends in international conservation. This study offers a survey of Monteverdes protected area history and curren t conservation issues through insights gained from first-person interv iews conducted with 40 area residents between June and August of 2006.
8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION At present, nature conservati on depends heavily on protected ar eas to limit the destruction caused by human activities such as land cleari ng, logging, and urban development (Terborgh and Van Schaik 2002). Yet despite their importance and widespread use, the general public and policy makers often maintain a simplistic and st atic conception of prot ected areas. Often, the mental model of protected areas consists of a one-size-fits-all park--a fenced off area of land designed to protect nature from humans. In reality, however, protected areas are multifaceted, fluid entities that result from a confluence of peoples ideas about what protected areas are expected to accomplish and for whom they serv e. Although protected areas sometimes do take the fenced-off approach, they take many othe r forms: communally held watershed reserves, sacred forest groves, and sustainable-use zone s, reflecting societal trends in conservation practice. History belies the idea of one standard type of protected area for all places and all times (Kalamandeen and Gillson 2007).1 The area around Monteverde, Costa Rica, offers a distinctive case study of the historical development of protected-area conservation. Monteverde has a uni que history of settlement by various national and international groups: Cost a Rican farmers, North American Quakers, biologists, and tourism entrepreneurs. It is hom e to a protected area network that has grown in both area and scope to protect watersheds a nd regional biodiversity, provide recreation for foreign tourists, and serve the economic needs of local communities (Fig ure 1-2). The protected area complex was not centrally planned to meet th ese goals, rather, its growth has been a halfcentury long process driven by local, national, and international trends in conservation and 1 Cumming (2004) created a schematic diagram of the concep t of expanding roles for protected areas in an African context. See Figure 1-1.
9 development. Although perhaps exceptional, the Monteverde experience underscores the possibilities and challenges inherent in ach ieving multiple conservation and economic goals through protected areas. Additionally, Monteverdes history is a demonstration of how largescale factors such as climate change and ec onomic globalization have powerful impacts on protected areas. Monteverdes stor y encourages the consideration of how protected areas can be expected to meet complex conservation a nd social goals given these challenges. This paper offers a survey of Monteverde s conservation and pr otected-area history through insights gained from first-person interv iews conducted with 40 area residents between June and August of 2006. A diverse cross-sect ion of the local populat ion was interviewed, including Costa Rican farmers, Quakers, cons ervation professionals, teachers, and tourism entrepreneurs.2 The range of histories and viewpoints glea ned from this process reinforces the underlying idea that protected ar eas represent dynamic and ofte n contested terrain. What may seem at first glance to be a simple study of a mountainous region of Cost a Rica is in fact an investigation of the multi-face ted relationship between people, protected areas, and conservation in the 20th and 21st centuries. Geography Located between Nicaragua to the north and Pa nam to the south, Costa Rica is a relatively narrow country bordered by the Pacific Ocean and th e Caribbean Sea (Figure 1-3). It is bisected by a mountainous spine that roughly follows the general northwest-to-sout heast orientation of Central America. Although small, Costa Rica experiences huge vari ations in topography, climate, and rainfall, ranging from humid forested lowlands to tundra-like pramo at high elevations in the southern Talamanca Mountai ns. The countrys geographic position as a land 2 Although I interviewed a wide range of subjects according to nationality and oc cupation, the subjects were chosen through snowball sampling, not a random sampling. See Appendix for a description methods and subjects.
10 bridge between North and South America has prom oted the development of a rich floral and faunal assemblage that contains elements of both continents (Stiles and Skutch 1989, pp. 1-19). The community of Monteverde is located at an elevation of 1450 me ters, just below the continental divide of the Tilar n mountain range in north-central Costa Rica. To the west of the divide the land drops off dramatically towards the Pacific Ocean, while the land to the east slopes more gently towards the Caribbean S ea. The mountainous terrain, sharp changes in elevation, and microclimatic conditions create a seri es of life zones that shift from the relatively dry forests of the Pacific slope to the mist-shrouded cloud forest that straddles the Continental Divide.3 4 The town of Monteverde is located in a transitional zone betw een the Pacific Slope and the much wetter cloud forest. Monteverde experiences three seasons: a dry period that lasts from February to April, a wet period from May to October, and a windy transitional period from to November to January. Mean monthly pr ecipitation ranges from a low of 30mm in March to a high of 420mm in October (Clark, Lawton, and Butler 2000). The forests directly above the town of Mont everde are well-known examples of montane cloud forests. These forests differ from lowla nd rainforests because they are nurtured by intercepted mist rather than heavy rainfall. The high humidity encourages the growth of innumerable species of mosses and ferns. Cloud fo rest trees typically carry a heavy load of epiphytes--plants that cling to branches and trunks and provide habitat for countless microorganisms, insects, and larger animals such as amphibians. Montane cloud forests throughout the world are also cente rs of biological diversity and endemism (Wheelright 2000). In Monteverde the geography and the unique climate ha ve given rise to an enormous diversity of 3 See figure 2 for life zone map 4 See Haber (2000, pp. 41-47) for more information on Monteverde life zones.
11 plants and animals, including the ende mic and probably extinct Golden Toad Bufo periglenes Unfortunately, montane cloud forests are among some of the worlds most threatened ecosystems, with a deforestation rate higher than the lowland tropical rain forests which have generally received more attention from cons ervationists (Nadkarni and Wheelright 2000). The various published and spoken uses of the term Monteverde can be somewhat confusing. Informally, the term is used both for the town of Monteverde, founded by Quaker settlers in 1951, and the geogr aphic area surrounding the town, including the communities of Santa Elena, Cerro Plano, Los Llanos, Canitas, La Cruz, and San Lus. Researchers use the term Monteverde Zone to describe a large ar ea of over 27,000 acres that encompasses the Monteverde Reserve Complex: a group of priv ate protected areas including the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, the Childrens Eternal Rainforest, and the Santa Elena Reserve. (Nadkarni and Wheelright 2000; Powell and Bjor k 1995). The Monteverde zone can also be thought of as a geographic unit that is tied toge ther by the areas chie f economic activities of dairy farming and tourism. Hence some authors describe the Monteverde milkshed, an area extending down either slope of the Continental Divide that is home to the milk producers who supply the Monteverde dairy pl ant (Griffith, Peck, and Stucke y 2000). Most of the issues discussed in this paper apply not just to the town of Monteverde but to the Monteverde zone as a geographic, social, and economic unit. For simpli city, this paper will generally use the term Monteverde to refer to the Monteverde zone, and will use the term town of Monteverde to specify the town itself. When discussing the areas pre-Quaker history, this paper uses the term Monteverde to refer to the phys ical area that the town enco mpassed before its founding in 1951.
12 Costa Rican Deforestation While not a major focus of this study, a br ief look at deforestation in Costa Rica, summarized from Evans (1999, pp. 33-42), will help to better understand the conservation responses and protected areas that emerged in Monteverde. Since the 16th century, deforestation has been a result of clearing land for cattle pastur e and agriculture but th e pace picked up greatly in the 20th century when large ar eas in the Caribbean and Pacific lowlands were cleared to create banana plantations. Concurrently, land clearing for cattle pasture in creased in part in order to feed the growing ranks of plantation worker s. Beginning in the 1970s, cattle production sharply expanded to meet a rapidly grow ing market for beef to supply fast-food restaurants in North America. By 1986 Costa Rica was the top beef pro ducer in Central America, with 96% of its production going to the United St ates. The politically powerful Cmera de Ganaderos (Cattlemens Trade Association) was very succe ssful at lobbying the government to support beef exports. The government obliged, providing such generous financial incentives for beef producers that many dairy farmers switched to rais ing beef. The number of cattle raised in Costa Rica increased from 607,850 head in 1950 to 2,050350 head in 1986. Such a level of cattle production required huge expanses of pasturelan d, which Costa Rica created through systematic deforestation efforts. By 1980 over 6,500 square m iles, or about one-third of the country, had been deforested. Much of the pasture was created on land that was not suitable for raising cattle, contributing to erosion and topsoil loss. In additi on to deforestation due to the expansion of cattle pasture, Costa Rica also suffered deforestation due to the activit ies of the logging industry and the subsequent invasions of precaristas or squatters, using logging ro ads to access forested areas that were burned to make way for small subsiste nce farms. Due to these factors, Costa Rica in the 1980s was losing four percent of its forests ev ery year, the highest rate for any country in Latin America (Figure 1-4).
13 The government, for its part, did take small le gal steps to address deforestation. In 1969 the Ley Forestal (Forestry Law) was passed, establishi ng the legal framework to establish national parks and monuments, and passing regula tions to encourage conservation within the forestry industry. However, these restrictions fa iled to significantly curt ail deforestation outside legal protected areas. Even within protected areas illegal logging, agricult ure, and invasions of squatters were fairly common due to insuffici ent law enforcement and tacit government support for squatting on unproductive lands (Evans 19 99, pp. 45). In recent years, deforestation in Costa Rica has slowed and even begun to revers e as cattle ranching has become less profitable, and other drivers of land conversion have w eakened. A government program, begun in 1997 that pays farmers to maintain forest cover for its environmental service valu es, has possibly played a role by encouraging reforestati on (Sierra and Rodrigo 2005). Howe ver, remaining intact forests still largely coincide with parks and protecte d areas, emphasizing their continued conservation importance (Wheelright 2000, p. 420).
14 Figure 1-1. Conceptual diagram reflecting the changing objectives and responsibilities of parks and protected areas in southern Africa during the past century. [Reprinted with permission from IUCN 2004. Performance of Parks in a Century of Change. Parks in transition: biodiversity, rural development and the bottom line (Page 107, Figure 5.1). Earthscan, London, England.] Figure 1-2. Timeline of expanding role s for Monteverde protected areas Protecting "Game" (Game Reserves) Protecting "Game" (Game Reserves) PAs for Public benefit, enjoyment, etc. protection of fauna and flora & provision for public to view fauna & flora PAs for Public benefit, enjoyment, etc. protection of fauna and flora & provision for public to view fauna & flora 1900 1920 1940 19601980 2000 Outdoor Recreation Outdoor Recreation Biodiversity Conservation Biodiversity Conservation Economic & Social benefits Economic & Social benefitsYear Additonal Objectives+ + + + S h i f t i n g G o a l P o s t s
15 Figure 1-3. Life zone map of Costa Rica s howing position of Monteverde Reserve Complex. [Reprinted with permission from Oxford University Press 2000. Monteverde: Ecology and Conservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest (Plate 8). Oxford University, Oxford, England.]
16 Figure 1-4. Deforestation in Costa Rica. [Reprint ed with permission from University of Texas Press 1999. The Green Republic: A conservation history of Costa Rica (Page 40, Figure 4). University of Texas, Austin, Texas.
17 CHAPTER 2 MONTEVERDE HISTORY Today, Monteverde and its forests are intern ational tourist attractions that bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, bu t until the 1970s Monteverde was an agricultural community quite remote from the rest of Cost a Rica and the world. The isolated nature of Monteverde has strongly influen ced the trajectory of its development, as the community has had to look inward to develop its economy, social institutions, infrastructure, and conservation programs.1 Although relatively little eviden ce of their culture remains, the Monteverde region was populated by indigenous groups that practiced hunting and gathering and agriculture for thousands of years, raising tubers, fruit trees, palms, corn, beans, and squash. The original peoples of the Monteverde zone suffered populati on declines and cultural disintegration due to the introduction of European dise ases and warfare (Timm 2000). During the colonial and postcolonial eras, development in Costa Rica was heavily centered around the capital, San Jose, and in th e surrounding Meseta Central. Today, this urban and agricultural core of the c ountry contains about two-thirds of the Costa Rican population (Rachowieki and Thompson 2000). Throughout much of Costa Ricas history outlying areas such as Monteverde were seen as frontier te rritory and maintained mu ch sparser populations.2 Around the turn of the 20th century, prospect ors discovered gold in the rivers around Guacimal, a town near present-day Monteverde. The discovery triggered a small-scale gold rush and attracted settlers to the re gion, who became some of the firs t non-indigenous residents of the Monteverde area. In subseque nt years the Costa Rican government granted the Guacimal Land 1 J. Stuckey, personal communication, June 30, 2006 2 J. Wolfe, personal communication, June 12, 2006
18 Company, the owner of the gold mine, a large par cel of land that included the present-day towns of Guacimal, Monteverde and much of the surro unding countryside. The company received title to the land as an incentive to build a hydroelectric plant wh ich to supply power to the communities and mines of the region.3 Squatters, mostly former workers in the mines and on farms, began to settle onto company lands; in 1929 the first families arrived in Monteverde and Cerro Plano and began to sell corn, potatoes, suga rcane, homemade alcohol and pigs to miners in Guacimal and Las Juntas. About 175 farmers lived in the Monteverde zone by 1950 (Burlingame 2000). Settler families cleared forest for small-scale agriculture and pasture for beef cattle. The use of fire, typically during the dry season, wa s a common way to prepare the land for planting.4 Settlers, encouraged by explic it government support for the pract ice, cleared forest; simply occupying unimproved land did not entitle settle rs to any legal rights to it. Laws granted ownership rights after one year of occupation and tenur e after 10 years to settlers who could show they were using the land in some way, which ob liged them to clear and plant at least half of their area (Evans 1999). As evidenced by this la w, a strong support for squatters rights was a deeply held tradition in rural Costa Rica. In th is mindset there was a sense that there would always be more land somewhere else to settle; de struction of forests was the most visible result.5 Agricultural settlements were generally sma ll, and individual families lived within a subsistence economy. A real cons traint on trade at the time wa s the poor road conditions; the road to Monteverde from the Pan-American Hi ghway was essentially a narrow oxcart trail until 3 B. Law, personal communication, June 1, 2006 4 E. Vargas, personal communication, June 21, 2006 5 J. and S. Trostle, personal communication, July 3, 2006
19 it was improved in the 1950s (it still is rather rough).6 In addition to agriculture, hunting was an important means of obtaining food, and in the 1930s families hunted tapirs, deer, monkeys, pacas (a member of the rodent family), and bi rds. By the 1940s the wild animal population had diminished and families began to raise pigs for food (Griffith, Peck, and Stuckey 2000). Typical families, such as the Arguedas family that arrived in Mont everde in the early 1930s, planted corn, potatoes, plantain and othe r vegetables, along with sugarcane to make dulce or homemade brown sugar. Montev erde resident Fermin Argued as remembers that when his grandparents arrived in the 1930s, cl earings in the forest were few, and they had to cut trees to plant the first crops. The family, like other Costa Ri can families in the area, also raised cattle for beef and milk. The small amount of trade that took place involved dulce and wood products milled from a local sawmill.7 The arrival of a group of North American Qu aker settlers in Monteverde marked a fundamental shift in the regions development. Th e Quakers, a Christian sect with roots in 17thcentury Britain, maintain religious traditions th at stress pacifism, an absence of dogma, and a belief in first-hand, inward experience w ith God (Weening 1995). Hubert and Mildred Mendenhall, Quakers from Fairhope, Alabama, vi sited Costa Rica in 1950 and were impressed that the Latin American nation had recently a bolished its armed forces. The Mendenhalls, like other US Quakers, were distra ught that their economic well-be ing as US citizens depended on military expenditures during World War II and the Korean War (Mendenhall 1995). They convinced other Quakers from Alabama and Iowa, some of whom had been recently jailed for refusing to register for the draft, to move to Costa Rica. A small group traveled to the Latin 6 J. Stuckey, personal communication 7 F. Arguedas, personal communication, June 8, 2006
20 American country to look for land in April 1951. Soon thereafter, a group of 41 North American Quakers, made up of 11 families, left the Un ited States for Costa Rica (Burlingame 2000). After six months scouting for land, the Quak er families bought a 1,200 hectare parcel at present-day Monteverde from the Guacimal Land Company. The Quakers purchased the land best suited for mechanized farming, at an elev ation far enough above sea-level to offer a healthy climate and located in an undeveloped, less e xpensive area that included uncleared forest (Mendenhall 1995). In 1951, the Quakers made th e journey from the Pan-American Highway up the narrow road, widening it along the way to allo w for the passage of their jeeps. It was the Quakers who chose the name Monteverde, Spanis h for Green Mountain, for the new settlement.8 For the first few years, the Monteverde Quak ers were essentially living in a subsistence economy. Like their Costa Rican neighbors, they ra ised beef cattle and planted potatoes, corn, sugarcane, beans, and yucca. The Quakers instituted a system of self-governan ce, still partially in evidence today, that centers on consensus decision -making. In the early years of the settlement, the Quakers focused on building community infras tructure, such as ro ads and schools. They engaged in land clearing, although mu ch of the land that they purch ased had already been cleared in the years before they had arrived by Costa Rican settlers.9 The Quakers soon focused on dairy farming as their principal occupation. Some members of the group came from dairying backgrounds and we re familiar with high-production European dairy breeds and management techniques (Griffit h, Peck, & Stuckey 2000). Monteverde farmer John Campbell made the first batch of aged ch eese in 1953, and later that year the community built a dairy plant, powered with electricity from a newly constructed hydroelectric generator. 8 J. and S. Trostle, personal communication 9 W. Guindon, personal communication
21 Cheese became the primary product of the dairy plant, having an advantage over milk since it was less bulky, did not require tr ansport in refrigerated truc ks, and could survive the pounding journey over the rough dirt road from Monteverde to the outside world. The Quakers began to market their cheese in San Jose, providing Mont everde with an expor table product and linking the region to a national market for the first time.10 From the beginning the cheese factory was at the center of community affairs. Income generated from the sale of cheese financed the construction of buildings, such as the Quaker school and meeting house, and allowed for need ed road improvements. In Monteverde and surrounding towns, Costa Rican and Quaker farmer s oriented their activities towards producing milk to be sold to the dairy plant. Although growing food for home consumption remained an important part of resident activit ies, the income from milk producti on became an integral part of family livelihoods and created an economi c base for the community as a whole.11 The market for milk also encouraged land cleari ng for cattle pasture in higher elev ation areas such as Ro Negro, San Bosco, Las Nubes and San Gerardo. Approximate ly 40 upland farms (ca. 560 ha of pasture) were established for dairy after 1950 (Griffit h, Peck and Stuckey 2000). Although dairy farming in recent decades has shifted geographically to the point that today th ere are only two producers in Monteverde proper, in 2006, 210 producers in communities around Monteverde continued to supply approximately 4000 kilos of milk a day to the dairy plant.12 10 J. Stuckey, personal communication, June 30, 2006 11 J. Stuckey 12 J. A. Murillo, personal communication, June 18, 2006
22 CHAPTER 3 PROTECTED AREAS Generally this paper uses the term prot ected area to describe land set aside for conservation purposes. However, at times this pape r uses the term park because this term is commonly used to describe conservation units in many contexts, such as the Costa Rican national park system. This study do es not intend to create a clear -cut distinction between the two terms. Rather it aims to demonstrate the malleabil ity of the protected area concept, for example how a protected area initially established for conservation can take on some of the roles traditionally assigned to parks, such as recreation and tourism. Other terms such as reserve or preserve will be used as well, but the context in which they are used should make clear the intended purpose(s) of these areas. Protected areas have been part of cultures throughout human history. Sacred forest groves, in which use and extractive activities were prohibi ted, date back to the fourth century B.C. in India, and have been prominent in Russia, Afri ca, and the Far East. Hunting preserves, most frequently reserved for noblemen, turn up time and time again in various cu ltures. These reserves could be found in Assyria dating back to 700 B.C., the Persian Empi re between 550 and 350 B.C. and in Western Europe during the Middle Ages (Davenport and Rao 2002). Scholars generally regard the 19th-century beginnings of th e US national parks as the starting point for modern prot ected areas. The national park Yellowstone Model possesses several salient features According to historian Alfred R unte (1979), the early national parks were founded on worthless land that had a low va lue for agricultural or industrial production, hence many US parks are found in mountainous z ones far from population centers. Furthermore, parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone were created to showcase spectacular landscapes. According to Runte, the national park system fed a nationalistic impulse that emphasized the
23 greatness of the American Wilderness (emptied of its native human inhabitants), in opposition to the civilized monuments of Europe. By th e early 20th century, the National Parks were oriented towards providing tourism to the general public, emphasizi ng individual natural wonders such as geysers or massive trees. Roads and automobile access have been a priority since the 1920s. Although ecological concerns have increasi ngly come to the fore in park creation and management, national parks are still premised on tourism access, scenic beauty, and a nature as museum philosophy. The Yellowstone model has informed the creation of park systems in countries such as Costa Rica, Cana da, South Africa, and Sweden (Jones and Willis 2005). Quaker Watershed Reserve Perhaps unwittingly, the Quakers initiated the conservation movement in Monteverde and the surrounding area. After arriving in 1951, they divided their land into private lots for each family. They made a group decision to leave the higher elevation, densely forested third of their land uncleared and undeveloped as a communally owned forest reserve. A number of motivations lay behind this decisi on, but it is important to underst and that the Quaker settlers were not conservationists as th e term is understood today. The con cerns of day-to-day survival were first and foremost on settlers minds; ha ving enough food to eat was not always a given during the first years of settlement.1 Like their Costa Rican nei ghbors, the Quakers relied on pasture for agriculture and cattle grazing, hence the plots that had already been cleared prior to the Quaker arrival held more value than forested land.2 Given this understanding, some Monteverde residents suggest th at the decision to create the forest reserve was not about 1 J. and S. Trostle, personal communication 2 J. Wolfe, personal communication
24 conservation but rather a reflection of the simple f act that the reserve land is steep, very wet, not well-suited for production, and was therefor e simply left in its forested state.3 In this motivation one hears an echo of Runte s worthless land idea. However, Quaker traditions, dating back to the eighteenth century, do stress land conservation. Kelly (1985, p. 250) suggests th at, in opposition to ma instream Christian worldview, a distinctive Quaker ecological attitude toward natu re encapsulating benevolence to all living things and custodianship to God in the conservation of land reminds us of the diversity of ecological perspective within the Christian community. Kelly (1986, p. 263) also emphasizes the eighteenth century Quaker affinity for the ecological worldview of Am erican Indians, citing Quaker Anthony Benezet: [Indians cultivate] no mo re land than is necessary for their plentiful subsistence, and hospitality to strangers. Be nezet argued that Europeans ought to live on the land in a "compact," economical fashion, cultiva ting the earth lovingly a nd efficiently to the service of its divine ma ster (Kelly 1986, p. 264). These traditions may have inspired the actions of a few Monteverde Quaker settlers. John Campbell, who initiated the production of Montev erde cheese in 1953, deci ded to leave over 2/3 of his original property in fo rest and for doing so was calle d impractical by his neighbors.4 The Quakers who came from farming backgrounds unde rstood the importance of forest cover in maintaining water supply and may have been influenced by observing damaged watersheds on recently settled deforested land near Montever de. Some settlers had experience with hydro power and had plans to use the stream-flow from the Guacimal River, or iginating in the cloud forest, to power a community sawmill and hydroelectric plant.5 Furthermore, the Quakers wished 3 B. Law, personal communication 4 M. Campbell, personal communication, June 26, 2006 5 B. Law
25 to maintain their household water quality as a ll water came from streams originating in the forest.6 Given this perspective, the creation of the wa tershed reserve represents a very practical conservation orientation of the or iginal settlers. The protection of scenic beauty, wilderness, endangered species, or biodiversity was not a goal of the Quaker re serve, but rather the reserve was meant to serve the day-to-day needs of th e community. In this sense the Quaker reserve shares some similarities with hi storical protected areas such as hemas traditional communitymanaged lands of Saudi Arabia. Various types of hemas regulate grazing rights and sometimes prohibit the cutting of tr ees (Saleh 2000). Another precursor to the Quaker reserve is Yosemite National Park, which was established in the 1890s partly to protect the watershed for downstream farming activities (Davenport and Ra o 2002, p. 34). Similarities can also be drawn between the Quaker reserve and the US National Forest system pioneered by forester Gifford Pinchot early in the 20th centu ry. Although the national forests stress active management much more than the Quaker reserve, both emphasize the practical aspects of resource conservation the national forests were originally set aside to protect water for urba n and agricultural uses (Kalamandeen and Gilson 2007). Regardless of historical precedent, when the Quaker farmers established their reserve in 1951, the action represented a departure from Costa Rican tradition. Although the Quakers prioritized water conservation over wildlife, they nevertheless wanted to protect the reserve from hunting or development. However, government support and cultural traditions discouraged land conservation in rural Costa Rica in the 1950s. Quaker settler Wolf Guindon remembers how hunters seeking game continually entered the reserve from the surrounding settlements. 6 W. Guindon, personal communication
26 Additionally, squatters entered the reserve to clear forest and gain title to the unused land. The Quakers took it upon themselves to patrol the reserve and educate their neighbors about its protected status, and eventually initial conf licts between the Quakers and members of the squatter settlements decreased.7 Community patrols by unarmed guards have played an important role in the protection of the Montev erde reserves and the eventual willingness of residents to accept the reserves legitimacy (H oney 1999). Today, incursions into the Quaker reserve and other Monteverde protected areas are much less common a nd for the most part Quakers and Costa Ricans work together to support local conservation efforts. The difficulties faced by the Quaker reserve are shared by historical and contemporary protected areas. In rural socie ties throughout the world, protected areas face varying degrees of non-acceptance from people who depend directly on local natural resources for their livelihood (Terborgh and Van Schaik 2002). It can be argued that the parks idea, developed in an era of rapid urbanization in the United States, repres ents a foreign concept when imported into agricultural societies. However, the concept wa s not accepted wholeheartedly even in the United States. During Yosemites early years, the park faced considerable local opposition and suffered abuse by poachers and commercial interests, a problem common to many parks (Davenport and Rao, p. 34). US park creation was also heavily cons trained by commercial interests. In case after case, congressional approval fo r new national parks was only granted after boundaries were drawn to explicitly exclude any land that include d exploitable resources such as minerals or timber. Furthermore, Congress retained the right to reopen parks to exploitation in the future if mineral resources were discovered after the park was established (Runte 1979). The unwillingness to restrict consumptive land uses can help explain at least part of the difficulties 7 W. Guindon, personal communication
27 parks have frequently faced in rural and newly industrializing societies. However, it does not address the impulse behind protecte d area creation in agricultural societies, such as with Saudi Arabian Hemas or the Quaker reserve. Clearly, the Yellowstone model, emphasizing spectacular scenery and tourist access, does not encompass the full range of motivations for protected area creation, nor does it represent the variety of uses for protecte d areas seen throughout history. Protected areas such as the Quaker reserve ar e examples of a rural society (albeit not an indigenous one) implementing a protected area at the community level. Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve The Monteverde Quaker settlers strove to establish a self-sufficient, independent community. For most of the first two decades after the group arrived, visitors consisted primarily of friends and family members willing to make the arduous journey up the steep and still primitive road.8 At this time Monteverde was not well known in Costa Rica or internationally. However, beginning in the 1960s, scientists came to Monteverde to conduct research and began to publish papers about their findings. The unique ecology of the cloud forest and the presence of a supportive English-speaking comm unity attracted significant numbers of biologists, primarily from the United States; scientists from the Orga nization for Tropical Studie s first arrived in the early 1960s to study species such as the endemi c Golden Toad (Honey 1999). Researchers also began to publish papers on the di stinctive birdlife of the cloud forest, piquing the interest of ornithologists and a growing number of serious birders (Burlingame 2000 ). A relatively large number of these scientists deci ded to move to Monteverde to continue their field work full time. Many of the scientists brought with them a dedication to conservation that has strongly influenced the general outlook in Monteverde. 8 J. and S. Trostle personal communication
28 One researcher, University of California gr aduate student George Powell, arrived in Monteverde in 1970 to study mixed-species bird flocks of the cloud forest. He performed his research on the partially forested farm of John and Doris Campbell, two of the original Quaker settlers. During the course of his studies, Powell became very concerned with a rapid increase in deforestation caused by homest eaders clearing land owned by th e government and the Guacimal Land Company. Impressed by the Quakers watershed reserve, Powell decided to protect what he could by buying out the squatters on the govern ment land. Additionally, the Guacimal Land Company agreed to donate a parcel of its la nd, the only known breeding habitat for the Golden Toad, if Powell could find an organization that was legally recognized in Costa Rica to own and manage the land. In 1972, Powell approached Leslie Holdridge and Joseph Tosi of the Tropical Science Center (TSC), a Costa Rican non-profit based in San Jos that focuses on scientific research and education. The TSC agreed to assu me ownership of the land that became the Monteverde Cloud Forest Pres erve (MCFP). Fundraising camp aigns led by Powell targeted international organizations, such as World Wild life Fund and the Nature Conservancy, raising funds which allowed the TSC to increase the size of the Preserve. In 1975, the Quakers agreed to lease their watershed reserve land, adjacent to th e MCFP, to the TSC. The Quakers, under an ownership group called Bosqueterno (forest foreve r), maintained ownership over their reserve but the land came to be managed as a unit of the MCFP. Today, the MCFP contains 10,500 hectares (Burlingame 2000; Tropical Science Center). Costa Ricans and Quakers have pointed to the arri val of biologists as the primary factor in fostering a conservation ethic in Monteverde. Quaker settler Wo lf Guindon, who worked with George Powell during the expansion of th e MCFP and became an ardent supporter of conservation, explains that he did not arrive in Monteverde with this attitude. Guindon recalls
29 that in the early years of Quaker settlement, he thought of himself as a chain saw expert and that his vision of development was clearing past ures and building roads and schools (cited in Honey 1999, p. 152). It was only after meeting Powell that Guindon began to develop an enthusiasm for preserving the local biota. Thr ough his work in support of the protected areas, Guindon has become the most respected guard in the MCFP and as a main force in support of Monteverde protected areas.9 The MCFP in Context The Quaker watershed reserve and the Montev erde Cloud Forest Preserve, separated in time by nearly 20 years, represen t two distinct ideas in prot ected area creation. The Quaker reserve has its origins in the practical needs of a small dairy-farming community, while the MCFP can be linked to international and Costa Rican movements to protect tropical forests, endangered species, and biodiversit y. Here we will examine the contexts in which the MCFP was created. In the 1960s, the environmental movement in the US and Europe began to criticize the generalized damage to the natural world that wa s being driven by modern society. Rachel Carson introduced ecological concepts to mainstream audiences with her book Silent Spring (1962), highlighting the perils faced to human health and the natural world th rough an over-reliance on chemical pesticides. The core ideas of ecol ogical thinking began to become more widely accepted. Park management began to reflect ecological concepts, as can be seen in a shift in the management of US National Parks that had be gun earlier in the century; the creation of Everglades National Park in southern Florida in 1934 was the first exam ple of a national park created to preserve biology (Runte 1979). Scie ntists guided the US National Park System 9 J. and S. Trostle, personal communication
30 towards the conservation of ecosystems and the pr otection of rare native organisms rather than just the earlier emphasis on protecting spect acular landscapes (Jones and Willis 2005). Also in the US, the development of endangere d species legislation in the late 1960s and early 70s highlighted a growi ng recognition that humans have a responsibility to protect threatened flora and fauna throughout the world. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 set limits on the destruction of habitat on public or priv ate lands. In the same year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangere d Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in Washington, DC. The convention restricts international commer ce of flora and fauna which might be harmed by trade (US Fish and Wildlife Service). In this period parks began to be seen as pl aces to safeguard the habitats of endangered species. In the course of studying specific species of plants and animals, scientists became aware that many tropical forests were being destroyed a nd that vulnerable species could be pushed to extinction if their habitat was not preserved. Protected areas were seen as important tools in the emerging science and practice of conservati on biology (Wheelright 2000). In the case of Monteverde, George Powell recogni zed that to maintain a populati on of Golden Toads, critical cloud forest breeding habitat needed to be protected from destruct ion (Tropical Science Center). Thus the creation of the Montever de Cloud Forest Preserve is dire ctly connected with efforts to protect habitat for animal species threatened by defo restation. It is important to note that in this stage in Monteverde conservation, the basic goal of the protected area was to protect wildlife from agricultural encroachment. It would be left to future developments in Monteverde conservation to attempt to engage farmers as allie s, rather than adversaries, in conservation. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve can also be placed in the cont ext of park creation in Costa Rica. Throughout the 20th century, park s sharply increased in numbers throughout the
31 world, and Costa Rica became a leader in the esta blishment of protected areas. Beginning with the creation of historic Santa Rosa Nationa l Monument in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica embarked on a major park-making push in the 1960s and 70s. Although some parks, such as Santa Rosa, highlighted historical monuments, Costa Rica focused on creating parks that represent most of the c ountrys geographic zones (Evans 1999, p. 11). Parks director Mario Boza emphasized how Costa Rica w ould pursue a parks program that, rather than simply protecting areas of scenic beauty, would preserve the diverse fl ora and fauna of Costa Rica (Wallace 1992). Thus the Costa Rican national park system was launched with ecological goals from the beginning. Although not a govern mental project, the MCFP paralleled the development of the national park system at a time of rising consciousness of the importance of preserving Costa Ricas biological heritage. Notably, the MCFP was supported by internationa l efforts from the beginning. In the early 1970s US-based conservation organizations began to take an active role in conservation efforts in the tropics. In its first inte rnational conservation effort, The Nature Conservancy contributed funds towards the creation of the MCFP. Geor ge Powell also raised $75,000 from the World Wildlife Fund-US, stressing the Preserves importa nce in preserving habitat for the Golden Toad, Resplendent Quetzal, Bare-Necked Umbrella Bi rd, tapir, and wild cats (Burlingame 2000). Like the Quaker watershed reserve, the Mont everde Cloud Forest Preserve was in general poorly received by its Costa Rican neighbors duri ng its early years. In 1972, when the MCFP was established, land conservation still was not recognized as a legitimate activity under Costa Rican law. The early managers of the MCFP ha d to register the reserve under a forestmanagement law that required them to state that they would carry out selective logging sometime in the future (Powell et al. 2002). Hunters con tinued to pursue game in the MCFP land as they
32 had on the Quaker watershed reserve, and many scorned the philosophy of conservation represented by the MCFP. Residents of nearby Sa n Lus remember that for the first several years, local hunters would delibera tely hunt and fell trees within th e Preserve in to demonstrate their unwillingness to suppor t the protected area.10 The Monteverde Conservation Leagu e, Expanding Conservation During the 20th century, the rapid deforest ation in Costa Rica as a whole was also occurring in the Monteverde zone. The forest s of the Pacific slope below the town of Monteverde had been steadily fragmented sin ce the mid-1930s, primarily to make way for cattle pasture and an expanding hu man population. By the 1980s, the once-continuous forest only existed as a chain of islands in a sea of pa sture grasses (Wheelrigh t 2000). Biologists were becoming aware of the conservation value of thes e Pacific slope forests, as they contain high diversity of fruit-bearing trees and are relied upon by frugivorous bi rd species such as the Threewattled Bellbird Procnias tricarunculata and the Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno (Guindon, C. 2000). In 1986, a group of conservation-minded Montever de residents formed an organization, the Monteverde Conservation League (MCL), with th e goal of protecting thes e threatened forests. The members of the League, many of whom were No rth American scientists, recognized that the San Jos-based Tropical Science Center was not willing or able to act on conservation concerns outside the boundaries of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. The League members saw the need for an organization that could raise m oney to conserve land outside the MCFP, although they planned to donate land to the Tropical Science Center once it was purchased. Though the League was initially founded to protect land on the Pacific slope, an unfolding threat on the 10 G. Leiton, personal communication, July 27, 2006; G. Lobo personal communication, July 21, 2006
33 Atlantic side of the Continental Divide quickly became the focus of the new organization. In the 1970s increasing numbers of settlers had begun movi ng into the Peas Blancas valley, triggering an increase in deforestation. By the 1980s, some settlers had begun to co nstruct a road through the MCFP with the aim of facilitating deve lopment of the valley (Burlingame 2000). Government activities also created an oppor tunity for the Monteverde Conservation League. The Costa Rican Electric Company (I.C.E. ), a federal agency, had constructed a dam seven kilometers to the west of Lake Arenal, creating a 30-kilo meter lake as storage for the countrys largest hydroelectric project. In 1977, the government declared a conservation area, including the Peas Blancas vall ey, around Lake Arenal to help protect the watershed that drained into the lake. The government declared th at the settlers in the conservation area could no longer develop the land, but promised to buy them out as soon as possible. However, by 1986 the money to do so had not materialized. The ne wly formed Monteverde Conservation League seized the opportunity to purchase the land from the Peas Blancas settlers. Most settlers were eager to sell their land to the MCL because otherwise they would be left holding land that they could not develop. Furthermore, many did not in tend to farm the wet and steep terrain, but instead had begun to clear forest with the goal of obtaining title to the lan d, or in some cases to provoke the government to recognize their predicament (Vivanco 2002). In the mid 1980s, land in the Peas Blancas Vall ey was relatively inexpensive--land that today is upwards of $1000 per hectare could be bought for an average price of $35 per hectare (Vivanco 2002). The founders of th e Conservation League were ab le to raise money by offering slide shows to the tourists who had begun to visit Monteverde and stay in local hotels.11 The land purchased in this campaign became the nucleus fo r a large protected area, the Childrens Eternal 11 K. Masters, personal communication, July 5, 2006
34 Rain Forest. The impetus for the Childrens Fo rest came from a US biologist, Sharon Kinsman, who lived in Monteverde and visited Sweden in 1987. She was invited to give a slide presentation about Monteverde to a Swedish school, where students cam e up with the idea of raising money to help protect M onteverde forests. Kinsman put th e students in contact with the Monteverde Conservation League, and the students raised money to purchase 6 hectares near the Cloud Forest Preserve. Subsequently, Kinsman an d her husband formed a Swedish non-profit to raise and channel funds to the MCLs campaign to protect land in the Peas Blancas Valley. Along with other international organizations, the non-profit has raised significant funds to purchase land near Monteverde. Money raised th rough debt-for-nature swaps also played a major role in both the expansion of MCL and the Childrens Forest. By 1998 the Childrens Forest totaled over 18,000 hectares, the la rgest private reserve in Cent ral America. Donations to purchase land have come from individuals, schools and foundations from more than 40 countries (Burlingame 2000). The advent of the Childrens Forest dramatically expanded the role of international fundraising that ha d begun with George Powell and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. The expansion of the Monteverde Protected Ar ea Complex can be seen as a scaling up of the conservation that began with the Montever de Cloud Forest Preser ve. While The MCFP was focused on the protection of individual species such as the Golden Toad and the Resplendent Quetzal, the growth of the Childrens Forest grew out of an international interest in protecting tropical forests and the biodivers ity that is contained within them. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the Monteverde Conservation League became the nexus of sizeable fundraising efforts directed at conservation groups such as WWF and othe r US, Canadian and European sources. The success of the fundraising can be attributed to the influx of well-c onnected biologists and
35 volunteers that had founded the MCL. Additionally, th e growth of the Childrens Forest reflected a surge in save the rainforest campaigns throughout the world and the MCL was wellpositioned to capitalize on the sudde n interest (Vivanco 2002). The founders of the Monteverde Conservation Le ague also saw the organization as filling an important need in the local community and region. In 1991, MCL members described the League as the local conservation group in the Mont everde zone that has the responsibility of communicating the local, regional, national, a nd global conservation perspectives to the surrounding communities. MCL members also claim to identify the socio-economic obstacles that are blocking sustainable land use, and look for ways to remove those obstacles (Vivanco 2002, p. 225). Conservation Outreach The land purchase campaigns spearheaded by the MCL were not carried out without conflict, as some Monteverde area resident s resented internatio nally-funded conservation organizations buying land and restric ting the activities of local farmers.12 The Peas Blancas squatter emergency that ga ve rise to the MCLs land pur chase campaign was a strong motivation for conservationists to gain the s upport of agriculturalists. Thus, the MCL began outreach programs with farmers in the mid 1980s The most visible and successful of these projects has been the windbreak project for area dairy farmers. The heavy winds that arrive during the dry season in the Monteverde zone negatively affect milk production by stressing cattle and pasture grasses, so there was alrea dy a strong desire amongst farmers to plant tree windbreaks which would increase their yields. Th e MCL capitalized on this desire and provided free tree seedlings and technical assistance to farm ers in exchange for their labor in planting and 12 See Vivanco (2002) for a more detailed discussion of the conflicts stemming from the land purchase campaigns.
36 caring for the trees. By 1994 over 500,000 native and exotic trees had been planted by 263 farmers in 320 windbreak projects (Burlingame 2000). Biologists have documented how the windbreaks act as biological corr idors for many bird species, ju stifying their conservation value (Nielsen and DeRosier 2000). Originally, fast -growing exotic species such as cypress ( Cupressus lusitanica ) and casuarina ( Casuarina equisetifolia ) were planted, but the MCL began to research and encourage the use of native tree species. Consequently, natives and naturalized exotics including Colpachi ( Croton niveus ) and Tub ( Montanoa guatemanlensis ) became favored windbreak trees (Burlingame 2000). Many area farmers have emphasized how the windbreak program has directly benefited their production, provided an important so urce of wood on their property and increased their s upport for forest conservation.13 The MCL has also pursued the general goa l of protecting the buffer zones around the Monteverde Reserve Complex through other co mmunity conservation projects. The El Buen Amigo cooperative in San Lus and the Forests on Farms and Corridors Project promoted sustainable land use and conservatio n of local forests and helped to protect forest fragments on farms that border the reserve complex (Bur lingame 2000). This more holistic vision of conservation represents a broade ning of conservation goals of ear lier decades. The founding of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in 1972 wa s an effort to protect endangered species against rapid agricultura l development. During the 1980s an in creased awareness of the need to involve local people in conservation became an important part of the effort to protect Monteverde forests. 13 G. Leiton, personal communication; G. Lobo, personal communication; O. Salazar, personal communication, July 21, 2006
37 Conservation Outside Reserves, Limits to Protected Area Conservation Monteverdes protected areas have been undeni ably successful in protecting forest that otherwise would have been destroyed. However, Monteverdes experiences with conservation have demonstrated the limits to a protected area model that preserves la nd without considering larger ecological contexts. Resear ch has highlighted how migrating species rely on land that is found both inside and outside of Monteverde prot ected areas. George Powe ll, who initiated the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in 1972, has researched the co mplicated seasonal migrations of the Three-wattled Bellbird ( Procnias tricarnunculata ). One of Central Americas largest frugivorous birds, this species ha s the most complex migratory patte rn yet recorded for a tropical species. A study of the migration route, revealed by radio telemetry of in dividual birds, showed that bellbirds spend 2-5 months in four distinct life zones during their annual cycle (Powell and Bjork 2004). A radio-telemetry st udy revealed that following the breeding season in the forests near the continental divide, the birds migrate do wn the Pacific slope to feed in small forest fragments on private farms. From these fragment s, the bellbirds make their way across the continental divide where they spend September a nd October in the lowland Atlantic forests of southeastern Nicaragua and nor theastern Costa Rica. In November and December the birds return to the Pacific slope to ut ilize forest remnants along the Paci fic coast of southwestern Costa Rica. Finally, in June and July the bellbirds find their way back to their breeding grounds in the cloud forests high on the Atlantic slope of the T ilarn. Unraveling this complex annual migration cycle has demonstrated the shortcomings of the Monteverde Reserve Complex. The complex, a parcel of land centered around the continental divi de, is not sufficient to protect habitat for the wide-ranging bellbird and other migratory species (Powell an d Bjork 2004; Powell et al. 2002). Furthermore, the fate of the Pacific slope fore sts themselves is intimately tied up with the survival of the bellbirds. The bellbirds play a sign ificant role in the regeneration of the trees in
38 the Lauraceae (avocado) family. This plant family is represented by more than 70 species of trees in the Monteverde region a nd 130 in Costa Rica, and species in this family are the most common canopy trees in a range of forest types across many life zone s. Bellbirds, heavily reliant upon the fruits of Lauraceae trees, swallow the large fruits whole, then regurgitate the seed some distance from the parent tree. The birds migrat e down the Pacific slope as the season progresses to take advantage of ripening La uraceae fruits at different eleva tions. Because these fruits are the most important food source for bellbirds and bellbi rds are the most important seed dispersers of Lauraceae trees, scientists recognize that their cons ervation is tightly linked. In other words, by not protecting Lauraceae trees across the migrator y range of bellbirds, the forests themselves may be at risk even if they are not physica lly cut down as the major canopy trees lose their ability to disperse seed (Powell and Bj ork 2004). This understanding of the ecological relationships further underscores the importance of pr otecting land outside of the Monteverde reserves. Conservation organizations including the M onteverde Conservation League are purchasing land and working with landowners to encourag e the protection and regeneration of private forests, but with high land pri ces it is a challenging process. The Monteverde Conservation League has been working with th e Tropical Science Center to de velop a biological corridor that extends from Monteverde down to the Gulf of Ni coya on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Those involved in the project have been relying on dona tions from North American visitors to raise funds for land purchase. Conservationists have f ound that landowner expecta tions of large profits to be gained from selling land to foreigners ha ve fostered a reluctance to sell to conservation organizations.14 Regardless of the challenges involved, th e recognition that the needs of wildlife 14 D. Wilson, personal communication, August 3, 2006
39 species require connectivity be tween different landscapes a nd ecosystems represents an enlargement of the protected area concept. C onservationists recognize that it is no longer sufficient to simply protect a plot of land and simply assume that all ecological processes will remain intact. Research of the Golden Toad, carried out by Monteverde herpetologist Alan Pounds and other scientists, further illustr ates the challenge of relying on protected areas to safeguard threatened species. The Golden Toad was extensiv ely studied in its cloud forest habitat in 1987; it was determined that the toads were never very common but were qui te conspicuous near breeding pools during a few weeks in April. The following year, only 10 toads were found during the entire season, and none have been s een since 1991. The rapid disappearance of the toads quickly became the focus of research effort s. Using local climatic data going back decades along with modern measurements, some scient ists concluded that the amount of mist precipitation feeding the cloud fore sts had decreased markedly over the past several decades. In addition, it was observed that the la yer of life-giving mist had incr eased in average elevation as the number of dry days had increased. Both of these effects have been attributed to humaninduced climate change and possibly deforestati on. Pounds has implicated a chytrid fungus as a possible proximate cause of amphibian mortality hypothesizing that the lethal skin fungus has become more harmful to the toads as the cl imate warms (Pounds, Fogden, and Campbell 1999). The Golden Toad case emphasizes the importance of understanding ecosystems as dynamic and changeable rather than static a nd stable. Understandably, the hope was that by creating the Cloud Forest Preserve the plants and animals within its boundaries would be well protected for the foreseeable future. In this cas e the Preserve may not have saved the Golden Toad because global problems like climate change do not discriminate between protected and
40 non-protected land. Montane systems such as Mont everde are especially vulnerable to these effects because the unique ecosystem near the top of the Continental Divide cannot climb any higher as the climate warms and biotic zones migrate up mountainsides Conservationists are now attempting to create reserves that are linked and, at least in theory, will allow for the movement of species as the climate warm s, although no corridor would allow mountaintop biomes to extend forever upward.
41 CHAPTER 4 TOURISM Today, any visitor to Monteverde will be struck by the ubiquity of tourist attractions in the region. Forest canopy walkways, zip lines, butterfly gardens, and reptile and amphibian zoos all compete for the attention of the 180,000 tourists who are reported to visit Monteverde each year (Monteverde Tourism Council 2005). The growth of tourism has engendered a fundamental shift in economics, conservation, and protected -area use in the Monteverde zone. Much has been written about the distinction between tourism and ecotourism The Ecotourism Society has defined ecot ourism as Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people (cited in Honey 1999, p. 6). The definition implies that conventional tourism does not necessarily support conservation or local people. Although Monteverde is sometimes hailed a successful and clear example of ecotourism, the degree to which Monteverde tourism supports conservation and local people is not cut-anddry. In this paper, the tourism era is contrast ed with earlier periods when agriculture was still the main economic driver. Tourism is examined as a phenomenon that has impacted communities, the practice of conservation, and th e protected area network; evaluating if tourism in Monteverde meets the criter ia of real ecotourism is not a primary focus of this study. Therefore, this study does not always ma ke a clear distinctio n between the terms tourism and ecotourism The growth of tourism in Monteverde mirrors the larger development of the industry in Costa Rica. As recently as the early 1980s, Cost a Rica was not particularly visible on the international tourism circuit, surpassed by traditional destinations, such as the Galapagos and the game preserves of East Africa. However, in the past 25 years, Costa Ricas small size, biodiversity, relative political stability, and welcoming attitude towards foreigners have pushed it
42 into the forefront of the tourism industry (Honey 1999). In 2005, the latest year for which data is available, over 1.6 million tourists visited Co sta Rica (ICT 2005). In 1992, tourism became Costa Ricas largest industry, eclipsing the traditional ag ricultural exports bananas and coffee (Wearing & Neil 1999, p. 88). In 2005, Costa Rican tourism earned over 1.5 billion dollars, far above the 482 million earned from bananas and the 233 million earned through coffee in the same year. In addition, since the late 1980s, t ourism revenue has experienced ra pid growth while that from agricultural exports has b een stagnant or falling (ICT 2005). T ourism in Costa Rica has benefited enormously from the presence of the national park system and private reserves such as those found in Monteverde. In 2001, the late st year for which statistics are available, 58.4% of all US visitors to Costa Rica had visited a national park, nature reserve, or wild life refuge (ICT 2001). Nature tourism has grown to the point that it has become part of Costa Ricas national consciousness and has helped create the self-image that many Costa Ricans have of their place in the world (Honey 1999, p. 132). Tourism and Monteverde protected areas Monteverde tourism emerged from modest be ginnings. From the 1920s to the 1970s, Costa Rican and Quaker dairy farmers lived in a relative ly self-reliant agricultural community that was not very visible either in Costa Rica or interna tionally. Visitors came to Monteverde starting in the 1950s, but at this stage most were guests of the Quakers, and all had to be motivated enough to make the trek up the frequently impassable dirt road from the Pan-American Highway. A small pension was built in 1952 and a field statio n at the Cloud Forest Preserve provided for students and scientists beginni ng in the 1970s (Honey 1999, p. 154). In 1974, when the Preserve was first opened to the public, it welcomed 471 guest s. Visitors, mostly research scientists, had to accept relatively primitive conditions at the field station or in the towns only hotel. As word of the Cloud Forest Preserve slowly filtered out to the wider world, a small but dedicated group
43 of serious birders began to make the journey to Monteverde in search of species such as the charismatic Resplendent Quetzal. Monteverde became better known to the general public through positive magazine articles and a BBC documentary film aired in 1978. Tourism numbers began to grow rapidly starting in the early 1980s: in 1980 there were 3,257 visitors; in 1983, there were 6,786; and in 1985, there were 11,762. The early 1990s saw an even more dramatic increase in tourism numbers with a growth rate of 50% per year; by 1992, the number of visitors reached 50,000 per year (Honey p. 152).1 Until the 1990s, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Pr eserve was the only tourist attraction in the area. The Tropical Science Center (TSC), the organization that owns and manages the MCFP, was caught off-guard by the tourism influx. As the MCFP was established for biodiversity protection and re search, TSC had to suddenly build a functioning tourism infrastructure where there was not one before. The organization hired and trained naturalist guides, demarcated and reinforced a visitor-friendly area of trails near the reserve entrance, and opened an information center and gift shop. TSC also began to raise entrance fees. The entrance fees at the reserve, $2.75 per person in the 1980s, have been rais ed to $27 per person (a foreigner, with a guided tour) today. Costa Rican nationals and Mont everde residents are charged much less (Tropical Scie nce Center). The Preserves income grew from $10,000 in 1983 to $850,000 in 1994more income than from all of Costa Ricas national parks combined in the same year (Honey 1999, p. 153). The TSC reinvests most of the revenue into administration, park maintenance and other services at the Preserve (Aylward et al. 1996). The huge increase in tourist numbers has b een a mixed blessing. The TSC released its Master Plan for Monteverde Cloud Forest Pres erve in 1991, forecastin g an increase to 135,000 1 See figure 4-1
44 visitors per year by the late 1990s. The general reaction of the Monteverde community to the plan was strongly negative; many were deeply con cerned that such levels of tourism would have a negative impact on quality of life in the M onteverde zone (Lee 1991). The TSC subsequently agreed to a more modest increase in visitation and instituted a cap of 100 visitors at a time in the reserve (later increased to 120). For several years tourist numbers he ld steady at around 50,000 per year, but, recently visitation has crep t upward, reaching almost 77,000 in 2005 (Centro Cientifico Tropical 2006). Tourism is concentrated in about 10% the Pr eserve area, and clea rly the MCFP continues to supply the environmental se rvices of watershed protecti on and biodiversity conservation. However, tourism has become a central pr oduct of the Preserve. Tourism more than adequately funds the operations and management at the reserve itself,2 and some of the funds also find their way to TSC headquarters San Jos fo r other projects. In the shift from the earlier Quaker watershed reserve to the tourism-fueled MCFP, there has been a change in how the Monteverde protected areas re flect the priorities of thei r changing user groups and constituencies. The Quaker reserve, integrated into the practical economic fabric, served the practical needs of the community that set it aside. With the advent of tourism in the MCFP, the seeds are planted for the transition to the cloud fo rest becoming a regional income source and a place for outsiders to visit. As the protected area constituency has become urbanized and globalized, the cloud forest has been turned into a distinct natura l world that has gained value as a refuge for tourists. The TSC has a mixed record of community relati ons in the Monteverde area. Partly due to the absentee landlord aspect of the TSC, th ere remains a sense today among some community 2 R. Bolaos, personal communication, June 8, 2006
45 members that the organization is unresponsive to the needs of local residents. This sentiment, along with the simple fact that the MCFP was be coming saturated with tourists, was behind the opening of the Santa Elena Reserve in 1992 (Wea ring and Neil 1999). Located about 5 km from the town of Monteverde, the town of Santa El ena has grown quickly and is now the largest population hub in the area. In the early 1990s, visitation to the Mont everde Cloud Forest Preserve was increasing dramatically but many Santa Elena residents did not see themselves benefiting from the influx of tour ists and money to the Preserve and the TSC. Consequently, some of these residents initiated a forest reserv e on land owned by the local high school that was originally intended for an agricultural project. From the start, the Santa Elena Preserve was geared towards ecotourism; trails, guided tour s, and a visitor center were developed early on. The reserve provides economic opportunities for lo cal schoolchildren, who are trained to work as guides. In addition to having th e support of the local community, the reserve has proven popular with tourists, and it offers something of rustic experience compared with the more developed Cloud Forest Preserve (Wearing and Neil 1999). Unlike the Cloud Forest Preserve, which was forced to respond to the touris t influx, the Santa Elena Rese rve is the purest example in Monteverde of a protected area designed for tourism and local development. On the other end of the tourism spectrum is the Childrens Eternal Rainforest, owned and managed by the Monteverde Conservation League As the League was founded by biologists and conservationists, its first priority has been the protection of fore st for biodiversity conservation. Tourism has been confined to the 30 hectare Bajo del Tigre forest parcel in Monteverde, an area used for guided night walks and environmental e ducation. However, in recent years, the League has been seeking to expand tourism operations in the Childrens Rainforest. Visitors taking part in various educational or field programs currently are housed at relatively re mote field stations at
46 San Gerardo and Poco Sol. The present director of the League, Carlos Muoz, has visions of expanding tourism in the Childrens Forest as a means of earning mo re money to support conservation. The League has had to cut back on its activities due to decreased funding, and tourism is seen as means to increase revenue and reach out to potential donors. Muoz also hopes that tourism and the economic benefits that it brings in can enc ourage people to support conservation in the communities that border the re serve. Although problems are not as severe as in earlier years, some community members continue to hunt and remove plants from the reserve; there are also problems with water polluti on and contamination from agrochemicals.3 Tourism Growth and the Monteverde Economy Even without a directed effort to provid e for social and economic development through tourism, the tourism boom has thoroughly tran sformed livelihoods in the Monteverde zone; roughly 90% of the regional population is depe ndent on the tourism industry at present.4 One notable result of this growth is the decline of the dairy industry in Monteverde; in the town of Monteverde there are only two dairy farmers remaining. Dairying does continue as an important regional activity but the cente rs of production have moved to more remote locations.5 The tourism boom has provided business opportu nities for hundreds of individuals and families, and the number of hotels and restaura nts has grown accordingly as tourist numbers have increased. By 1996, there were 26 facilities offering lodging, most of them along the road from Santa Elena to the Cloud Fore st Preserve. More than 80% of area hotels have been built since 1990. Other tourist services have surged as well, and at present there are hundreds of businesses offering everything from handicrafts to horseback ri des and DVD rentals. Since 1982, 3 C. Muoz, personal communication, August 4, 2006 4 K. Masters, personal communication, July 5, 2006 5 J. Stuckey, personal communication
47 the womens handicraft cooperativ e CASEM (Comit de Artesan as Santa Elena-Monteverde) has provided employment for hundreds of wome n who manufacture souvenirs for tourists (Honey 1999). In contrast to foreign-owned reso rt tourism development common to places like Cancun or, increasingly, the Pacifi c Coast of Costa Rica, most of the tourism businesses in Monteverde have remained in the hands of local residents. Local ownership has meant that the financial leakage that occurs in many t ourism destinations is less of a problem.6 The surge in tourism has also attracted signi ficant numbers of econom ic migrants to the Monteverde zone. Drawn by the promise of steady wo rk as hotel maids, taxi drivers, waiters and naturalist guides, migrants from other parts of Costa Rica or ot her countries have swelled the population of the Monteverde zone. These indivi duals and families have transformed the once sleepy towns of Santa Elena and Cerro Plano in to relatively bustling commercial centers. At present, Santa Elena is the downtown of the Monteverde zone, featuring a supermarket, bus station, restaurants, guiding serv ices, nightclubs and bars. As more and more people have settled in Santa Elena and Cerro Plano, the growth in these towns has sharply outpaced growth in the town of Monteverde. This has created a situatio n in which roughly 3/5 of the adult population in Santa Elena has arrived w ithin the past 15 years.7 Many of the newer migrants may not be familiar with the traditions of community and se lf-governance that have been central to the development of the older Costa Rican and Quaker communities. It remains an open question if newer migrants, unaware of the importance of the protected areas to the tourism industry, are willing or able to support the community or conservation efforts. 6 J. Giles, personal communication, June 23, 2006 7 J. Giles, personal communication
48 The relationship between the prot ected areas, tourism, and the larger community is in the process of undergoing a significan t shift. The first wave of M onteverde tourism, from roughly 1974 to 1990, was primarily made up of serious birders and naturalists who were expecting something of a nature immersion experience. These visitors were generally knowledgeable about natural history and arrive d expecting to spend a significa nt amount of time seeking out quetzals or other species. Amenities were few and tourists had to be willing to rough it to a certain degree (Grosby 2000). In th is stage tourism in Monteverde was essentially synonymous with visitation to the Cloud Forest Preserve. Most visitors were drawn to the area by the presence of the Preserve and the expectation of experi encing its unique flora and fauna on a first-hand basis. The picture started to cha nge in the early 1990s. The post-1990 tourism boom brought increasingly large numbers of visitors to the area who did not necessarily possess an understanding of the local ecology or any special interest natural hi story. More and more tourists began to arrive on package trips in which Mont everde was only a short stop on a countrywide bus tour of Costa Rica. As the number of tourists grew, tourist expectations also changed. Some longtime Monteverde residents spea k of a shift in the profile of the typical tourist: whereas earlier visitors came to Monteverde with a strong natural history orientat ion and a willingness to embrace the rural nature of Monteverde life, recent visitors have tended to demand more amenities such as luxury hotel rooms, restaurants, and entertainment venues.8 Area entrepreneurs, impressed by the influx of vi sitors, created attractions to cater to the demands of the new breed of tourist. Within a span of a few years, the Cloud Forest Preserve was surrounded by an array of attrac tions including zip lines, canopy tours, insect museums, and 8 M. Hilgado, personal communication, June 16, 2006
49 horseback rides. The advent of th ese attractions has meant that the Preserve has lost its some of its standing as an obligatory t ourist destination in Monteverde. While earlier visitors to Monteverde would usually spend a significant peri od of time in the Preserve, recent tourists may not even visit it. The number of tourists in the Monteverde area, calculated at around 180,000 for 2005 (ICT 2005), has been steadily growing whil e Preserve visitation, currently around 70,000, has only increased slowly since the big gains of the early 90s (Cientro Ci entifico Tropical 2006). It can be concluded that a significant number of tourists are spendi ng time in Monteverde without visiting the MCFP. The zip lines deserve some attention as il lustrations of the changing character of Monteverde tourism. The zip line concept was pi oneered in Monteverde in 1994 with the advent of the Original Canopy Tour. Zip line participants, strapped into a harness that is attached to a suspended metal cable with pulleys, travel at high speeds through the forest canopy. The attraction proved to be remarkably popular and subs equently several more zip lines opened in the area. While the zip lines are not nearly as ambiti ous as the high tech thrill rides found in theme parks, it can be argued that the advent of adventure tourism can be seen as a kind of Disneyization of Monteverde. Adventur e tourism, only loosely tied to a first-hand experience of the local ecology, presents a contrast with the earlie r naturalistic character of Monteverde tourism. Unlike tourism in the Cloud Forest Preserve, zi p line tourism is not dependent upon the local flora and fauna. A slight drop in tourist num bers for 2006 has been blamed on a number of factors, ranging from a weaker US dollar to more expensive inte rnational flights. However, one possible reason could be that as Monteverde t ourism has increasingly followed an adventure model, the unique character that attracted vi sitors to the area in the first place has lost significance. Because adventure tourism is fairly generic and is relatively easily replicated in
50 other locales, zip lines can now be found all over Costa Rica and in neighboring countries such as Nicaragua. Tourists may be increasingly le ss willing to visit Monteverde when similar adventure tourism experiences can be had for le ss expense and with less logistical difficulties elsewhere. Tourism Impacts: Conservation and Community Amongst residents, there is a general, but te mpered, recognition that tourism has fostered local support for conservation. Clearly, the situation is much changed from the era when settlers, both Costa Rican and Quaker, saw standing forest as little more than an impediment to development. The changed economic landscape provided by tourism has eased much of the pressures that in the past drove much of th e conversion from forest to pasture, as nonconsumptive land use has gradually replaced consumptive land use within the Monteverde zone.9 The relative prosperity of Monteverde, stemming from the dairy plant and tourism, has allowed conservation organizations to focus on land protec tion rather than facing local residents who are in poverty and cannot afford to support conservation efforts.10 However, many residents share the perspec tive that support for conservation in the Monteverde zone is relatively shallow. Longtim e resident Jim Wolfe contends that the support for conservation is only as viab le as the continued flow of m oney and jobs through tourism; the implication is that if and when Monteverde to urism drops off, so t oo will local support for conservation. Others have questioned the depth of conservation support amongst tourism business owners, claiming that many owners do not support the conserva tion organizations and protected areas that attract payi ng guests to Monteverde. However, some business owners have 9 J. Wolfe, personal communication 10 J. Stuckey, personal communication
51 been extremely active in suppor ting conservation efforts. The owners of the Ranario, a frog museum, were instrumental in founding th e Costa Rican Conservation Foundation, an organization dedicated to the prot ection and reforestation of Pacifi c slope forests; the owners use a percentage of muse um profits to support the Foundations work.11 Other business owners have maintained less enthusiasm for conservation projects. Although misguided, the assumption on the part of these owners may be that they do not need to support the c onservation organizations as their businesses do not depend on conserva tion efforts or on environmental health. While tourism has brought in a higher standard of living and provided at least some local support for conservation, Monteverde has experi enced growing pains as development has taxed the local infrastructure. Vehicle traffic has increased dramatically on a road network that cannot expand due to constraints of the mountainous topography. Heavy tr affic on the dirt roads gives rise to dust clouds in the dry season and deep pot holes in the wet season. While it is possible that the dirt roads will be paved in the future, many re sidents are concerned that traffic accidents will increase in frequency with higher driving sp eeds on paved roads. There have been ongoing discussions of the merits and drawbacks of pavi ng the road from the Inter-American Highway to Santa Elena and Monteverde; de spite the obvious convenience of paving the road, the proposal has proven controversial. Many M onteverde hotel operators are c oncerned that if the road is paved Monteverde could be easily visited in one day, potentially sharply reducing the number of guests who spend at least one overnight in the ar ea. Other residents share a general concern that paving the road would further er ode Monteverdes sense of is olation and community unity. Water pollution is also a major concern. The demand for water use has grown faster than the supply, and sewage systems are frequently no t up to the task of tr eating water used by the 11 D. Hamilton, personal communication, June 17, 2006
52 mushrooming resident and tourist populations. The results can be s een in colorful and often foulsmelling water in roadside drainage ditches or in local streams. In 2005, a crisis erupted when it came to light that a small group of local entrep reneurs had acquired government concessions to appropriate large quantities of wa ter from two Monteverde stream s; studies revealed that the quantities of water allowed by the permits could cause one of the streams to run dry during the dry season. Biologists were especi ally concerned about the effect of the concessions on local ecology because the streams pass through land in the protected area network.12 Although the business owners insisted that they plan to use the water for agricultural use, which is allowed under the government permits, many residents susp ected that the owners planned to use the water to enrich their own tourism businesses. In January 2005, protests erupted as residents stood in front of backhoes and filled ditches that were to be the final link in the water project. At present it seems that the project will not be allowed to go forwar d, but the crisis highlighted the tensions that have arisen in M onteverde due to tourism growth.13 Attempts at long-term planning have been in itiated, notably with the Monteverde 2020 program. This program, launched in 1990, was an attempt to foster coordination amongst Monteverde organizations. Or ganizers formed commissions to work on issues including conservation, roads, and tourism. After fundi ng from the Interamerican Foundation ran out, the program languished due to internal tensi ons and other factors (Burlingame 2000b). Many Monteverde residents cite the lack of central planning as a serious impediment to quality of life and sustainability in the area, but recognize that w ith its economic and community resources, 12 K. Masters, personal communication 13 K. Masters
53 Monteverdes planning situation is actually better than most regions of Costa Rica.14 There is also a recognition that Montever des challenges are second-gener ation problems; problems that come with the success that the area has experienced.15 From the perspective of some residents, a fundamental shift has occurred with the transition from a dairy farming to a tourism economy. The strong sense of community that accompanied the need for farmers to work together has been largely replaced by a more competitive mentality that the transiti on to a tourism economy has fostered.16 The close-knit community structure and social in stitutions that were instituted by the Quaker settlers continue, but in a social environment drastically changed by the influx of competitive businesses. This competitive mentality may be contributing to th e difficulty in instituting community planning measures, as business owners may be unwilling to invest time and resources to the community. Other social changes have ar rived as well, including sharp economic inequalities between those benefiting from tourism and those who do not. In part because of the land purchase campaigns of the conservation organizations, land prices have skyrocketed, currently to an average of over $15-$20/square meter, comparable with prices in San Jos (Chamberlain 2000). These prices mean that buying a home in or near Monteverde is out of the reach of many ordinary Costa Ricans.17 Additionally, the tourism money flowing through Monteverde has contributed to rare outbreaks of violence. In March 2005, armed men attempted to rob the National Bank in Santa Elena. During three tens e days when bank customers were held hostage 14 G. Vargas, personal communication, June 16, 2006; M. Hildago, personal communication; J. Stuckey, personal communication 15 B. Law, personal communication 16 J. Stuckey, personal communication 17 E. Vargas, personal communication, June 21, 2006
54 and a police raid, nine people were killed. While it is simplistic to blame tourism money for the robbery, it is evident that a la rge amount of cash from tourist dollars and inadequate security made the bank a tempting target for criminals. The bank robbery came as a shock to a community that is known internationally for its commitment to peace and non-violence. While hopefully an aberration, the event has driven home the fact that Monteverde is no longer an isolated community. Tourism has pushed Montever de into the global spotlight, with all the benefits and drawbacks that come with international recognition.
55 Figure 4-1. Number of visitors per year, Cloud Forest Preserve [Data from Tropical Science Center]. 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 900001974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004
56 CHAPTER 5 VIEWPOINTS ON CONSERVATION Biologists and Social Developmentalists Monteverdes unique community structure harb ors a wide diversity of viewpoints about conservation and development that mirrors the va riety of uses of the local protected areas. Possibly the clearest distinction becomes apparent when residents talk about what conservation means. Several foreign-born biol ogical scientists in Monteverde speak of conservation primarily as an activity to protect biodi versity: local flora and fauna.1 Other residents, mostly Costa Ricans, speak of conservation in humanist terms: the continua nce of agricultural livelihoods, healthy families, and education.2 On the one hand, some scientists are frustrated that sometimes residents do not recognize that their economic security depends on the protection of the biodiversity that brings tourists to Monteverde.3 On the other hand, local agriculturalists sometimes accuse scientists, who they call bilogos (biologists) of not being concerned about farmers and their livelihoods. San Lus resident Gilbert Lobo emphasizes how his world view, which considers humans as part of the natural en vironment, differs from the conception that conservationists have of pr otected areas without people.4 These differences among Monteverde residents lend an undercurrent of tension to Monteverdes conservation victories. The development of the Monteverde Conservati on League captures some of the diversity of viewpoints of how resident s understand conservation. The L eagues land purchase campaigns are resented by some residents who sold land to the organization in the 1980s when land prices 1 A. Masters, personal communication, June 26, 2006; K. Masters, personal communication 2 M. Brenes, personal communication, July 7, 2006; G. Vargas, personal communication 3 K. Masters, personal communication 4 G. Lobo, personal communicaiton
57 were low, only to discover that the land has sh arply increased in value since the tourism boom. Some farmers do not see themselves benefiting fro m the land that is prot ected for conservation and tourism, and regard the ownership of the protected areas by conser vation organizations as essentially undemocratic as it lim its the rights of farmers to live on the land (Vivanco 2002). In contrast, the Leagues windbreak campaign is s till highly regarded by area farmers and has garnered their backing for conservation programs that work with farmers and benefit agriculture.5 This social developmentalist vision of conservation as an activity that supports sustainable rural livelihoods is at th e core of many residents views. The director of the Santa Elena Coffee C oop, Guillermo Vargas, speaks about conservation as the maintenance of agricultural livelihoods in the face of the rapid e xpansion of the tourism industry. Vargas describes a sma ll conflict over the L eagues environmental education program, introduced to local schools in the mid 1980s. Some Monteverde biologists felt that the program should focus on teaching the ecology of the cloud forests, while others such as Vargas thought that the program should emphasize reforesta tion on farms and sust ainable agricultural livelihoods. The conflict was even tually resolved with the re cognition that environmental education could teach about both ecology and ag riculture (Burlingame 2000). Vargas also promotes both environmental and social health through the activ ities of Caf Monteverde, a coffee growers cooperative. The coop obtains higher prices for its brand through collective selling efforts and certificati on to uphold equitable labor pr actices. Vargas does not see a contradiction between the goals of social equity and environm ental sustainability. Although the distinction between biologists and social developmentalists continues today, it has perhaps 5 G. Lobo, personal communication; O. Salazar, personal communication
58 lessened in intensity due to a common concern that too heavy a reliance on tourism has the potential to threaten both biol ogical and economic diversity. Even tourism, which has been heavily focused on showcasing the local flora and fauna, has begun to reflect the diversity of the Monteverde zone. Seve ral area farmers have been experimenting with agrotourism, in which tour ists visit farms to learn about coffee production, dairy cattle, and reforestation.6 In San Lus, tourists and educational groups are taught about sustainable agriculture at Finca la Bella, a 50 h ectare community of 24 families. Finca la Bella residents are not allowed to cut down forests or to sell their land without permission from the community. The goal is to provide land to formally landless farmers, and to keep the land in the hands of locals who want to practice small-scale sustainable agriculture. Visitors, mostly from educational programs, stay at farm residences and help to provide income to the resident families.7 In a sense, agricultural proj ects such as Finca La Bella ar e creating protected areas in which traditional livelihoods are sheltered from economic takeover and land purchase by foreigners. As the Monteverde economy has embr aced a model that caters towards the demands of foreign tourists, these projects help maintain the health of local communities, in part using resources that tourism brings to the area. It is the vision of social developmentalists that agrotourism can contribute to th e protection of agricultural liv elihoods just as ecotourism can contribute to the prot ection of biodiversity.8 Monteverde as Model? Monteverde holds a privileged place in disc ussions about conservation and tourism. Many scholars look at Monteverdes e xperience, particularly the devel opment of tourism, as evidence 6 H. Brenes, personal communication, July 28, 2006 7 G. Lobo, personal communication; O. Salazar, personal communication 8 G. Vargas, personal communication
59 of the areas success in cons erving its natural resources a nd improving standards of living (Aylward et al. 1996; Budowski 1992, Evans 1999, Honey 1999). While this perspective is generally shared by Monteverde residents, it tends to be tempered by the recognition of the negative consequences of the rapid growth that the area has experienced. Some observers note that other regions that have looked to Montever de as a model have only considered the positive aspects, disregarding the negatives, such as in creased crime, pollution and income disparities.9 Furthermore, long-time residents are aware that Monteverdes unique history has give n rise to its successes. The slow development of the protect ed area network that was initiated with the Quakers and continued through the efforts of de termined individuals and organizations cannot simply be reproduced on a short time scale. Reside nt John Trostle jokingly suggests that if other areas would like to recreate Monteverdes succes s, all they have to do is import a group of Quakers and conservation biologists and have them live there for 50 years or so. Others point out that Monteverdes isolation and tradition of forming local orga nizations to confront problems have given rise to a community resilien ce and strength that has led to its success.10 Until the tourism boom, Monteverde was essentially ignore d by the central government and only within the past few years has the region begun the process of creating a local government, so community self-reliance was a necessity.11 The isolation, tight-knit community structure, and biologist influx are historical factors that are unique to Mont everde and are unlikely to be repeated in other locations. Re gions that are suffering from p overty, instability, or violence usually do not have the luxury of the kind of in tensive community efforts that have led to Monteverdes conservation successes. Even within Monteverde, the situation is changing rapidly 9 R. Bolaos, personal communication 10 J. Stuckey, personal communication 11 J. Giles, personal communication
60 with the globalization of a once-isolated region and the erosion of community structures that fostered conservation efforts. Due to these factors, Monteverde ca nnot be simply replicated as a model for conservation or sust ainable development. However, perhaps more general lessons can be drawn from Monteverde: While not with out its share of conflicts, a protected area complex that has arisen through local needs a nd community action has proven flexible enough to provide diverse benefits including watershed pr otection, biodiversity conservation, and economic development. Park planners can take inspirati on from Monteverdes l ong history of protected area conservation that has provided environmenta l, community, and economic benefits for many decades. Conservationists can also learn from Monteverdes planning woes and challenges in crafting a protected area complex that is resilie nt enough to respond to exogenous forces such as climate change. Monteverdes conservation histor y reveals that protected areas are not fixed entities, but instead are shaped by the priorities and goals of individuals, orga nizations, nations, and international trends. The example of Montever de belies the common unde rstanding of protected areas only as recreational parks or as fenced-off land. While Mont everde protected areas display some of these characteristics, they also have served, and continue to serve, as watershed protection areas, drivers of econo mic growth, and vital habitat for wildlife. They serve both international tourists and locals in a multitude of different ways. If the hopes of conservationists become reality, they could serve as the centerp iece of a regional conservation network that protects migratory species. They are also s ources of controversy as they reflect different philosophies of conservation pract ice. While a study of Montev erdes present situation is informative, only an investigation of the areas hi story reveals the possibilit ies, as well as the limitations, of the Monteverdes conservation effo rts. Conservationists an d scholars benefit from
61 better understanding the development of Monteverde protected area s and the imperfect victories that have been achieved through them.
62 APPENDIX RESEARCH METHODS AND SUBJECTS The primary methods for this project were the study of various written sources and 40 firstperson interviews carried out with Monteverde residents. The inte rviews, generally lasting about 45 minutes each, were recorded onto a digita l voice recorder, and then transcribed. The interviewees were selected to provide a diverse sample of resi dents, including Costa Ricans, Quakers, farmers, biologists, teachers, conserva tionists, and tourism entrepreneurs. Generally, names of potential interviewees were offered by other residents (snowba ll sampling). Interview questions were not standardized, but instead were tailored to each interviewee. Information gained from the interviews falls into two general categories: (1) historical information, (2) viewpoints about conservation prac tice in Monteverde. Historical information was strengthened with corroboration from multiple interviewees and/or written sources. The unique insights gained from first-person interviews allowed for the cr eation of a detailed por trait of Monteverdes conservation history and an intimate understand ing of the interaction between community and protected areas. The following chart lists, in alphabetical order, the interviewees names and general affiliation in Monteverde.
63 Table A-1. Monteverde residents interviewed and their affiliation. Name Affiliation Fermin Arguedas Costa Rican settler, farmer Irma Arguedas Costa Rican settler Rafael Bolaos Former director Cloud Forest Preserve Hernan Brenes farmer and agrotourism entrepreneur, La Cruz Milton Brenes project leader/gardner at Cloud Forest School Victoria Brodus employee, Monteverde Conservation League Ruth Campbell hotel co-owner Eladio Cruz biological aide, plant expert Deb Derosier biologist Mercedes Diaz environmental education director, Cloud Forest Preserve Jere Gilles visiting professor Karen Gordon educator Benito Guindon Quaker Wolf Guindon Quaker settler, conservaitonist Carlos Hernandez director, Cloud Forest Preserve Marvin Hildago Costa Rican di rector of Biological Station Richard Laval biologist Bob Law conservationist Giovanny Leiton San Lus resident Melvin Letion natural history guide Martha Leiton-Campbell Quaker farmer Gilbert Lobo resident, Finca La Bella, San Lus Alan Masters biologist Karen Masters biologist Carlos Muoz Director, Monteverde Conservation Leauge Alan Pounds biologist Yadira Ramierez employ ee, EcoBamboo, San Lus Marvin Rockwell Quaker settler, business owner Mary Rockwell Quaker settler Oldemar Salazar resident, Finca La Bella, San Lus Joe Stuckey Quaker dairy farmer Sue/John Trostle Quakers, community activists Guillermo Vargas Santa Elena Coffee Coop director Noe Vargas community activist Mark Wainwright biologist Dulce Wilson conservationist Jim Wolfe owner of Butterfly Garden Willow Zuchowski biologist
64 LIST OF REFERENCES Aylward, B., K. Allen, J. Echeverra and J Tosi 1996. Sustainable tourism in Costa Rica: the Monteverde Cloud Fo rest Preserve. Biodiversity and Conservation. 5, 315-343. Burlingame, L.J. 2000. Conservation in the Mont everde zone: Contributions of conservation organizations. In N. M. Nadkarni and N. Wheelright (eds.), Monteverde: Ecology and conservation of a tropical cloud forest, 351-375. New York: Oxford University Press. Burlingame, L.J. 2000b. Monteverde 2020. In N. M. Nadkarni and N. Wheelright (eds.), Monteverde: Ecology and conserva tion of a tropical cloud forest 378-379. New York: Oxford University Press. Budowski, T. 1992. Ecotourism Costa Rican style. In V. Barzetti and Y. Rovinski (eds.), Toward a green Central America: Integrating conservation and development 48-62. West Hartford: Kumarian Press. Carson, R. 1962. Silent spring New York: Houghton Mifflin. Chamberlain, F. 2000. Pros and cons of ecotour ism. In N. M. Nadkarni and N. Wheelright (eds.), Monteverde: Ecology and conserva tion of a tropical cloud forest 376. New York: Oxford University Press. Cientro Cientifico Tropcial. 2006. Total de visitantes, Reserva Biolgica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, Resumen 1998 a 2006 Clark, K.L., R.O. Lawton and P.R. Butler. 2000. The physical environment. In N. M. Nadkarni and N. Wheelright (eds.), Monteverde: Ecology and cons ervation of a tropical cloud forest 15-38. New York: Oxford University Press. Cumming, D.H.M. 2004. Performance of Parks in a Century of Change. In B. Child (ed.), Parks in transition: Biodiversity, rural development and the bottom line 105-124. London: Earthscan. Davenport, L. and M. Rao. 2002. The history of pr otection: Paradoxes of th e past and challenges for the future. In Terborgh, J., Van Schai k, C., Davenport, L. and M. Rao (eds.), Making parks work: Strategies for preserving tropical nature 30-50. Washington, DC: Island Press. Evans, S. 1999. The green republic: A conservation history of Costa Rica Austin: University of Texas Press. Grosby, S. 2000. The changing face of tourism. In N. M. Nadkarni and N. Wheelright (eds.), Monteverde: Ecology and conserva tion of a tropical cloud forest 376. New York: Oxford University Press.
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68 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jason Davis received his undergraduate degr ee in natural resour ce studies from the University of Massachusetts in 1999. He received a masters in music from the same institution in 2002. Jason will receive a Master of Science in interdisciplin ary ecology from the University of Florida in 2007.