Osa Peninsula Forest Restoration

Andrea Johnson (MESc ’05) offers a field study site and a network of conservation collaborators in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica for a student interested in either research or internships related to either (a) forest restoration and regeneration (natural and assisted) or (b) the social and ecological impacts of changing patterns of land use and ownership in a tropical forest landscape.

Andrea is working with several collaborating organizations and a local community to restore 12 hectares of degraded cattle pasture on Costa Rica’s incredible Osa Peninsula to a combination of native forest, native species timber plantations and agroforestry systems. She would be excited to integrate interested and qualified students into either ecological or social aspects of this project. (Some Spanish language skills are necessary.)

The property was all active cattle pasture until January 2016, and 6 hectares will continue to have grazing presence until June 2017, creating interesting comparative research opportunities. Adjacent properties are under differing land uses: oil palm, early regeneration (3 yrs), advanced secondary forest, active cattle farm. Various water sources run through or next to the property.

Andrea's farm could serve as either a stand-alone site (for certain types of study) or one of several comparative study sites in the Osa Peninsula, for a student interested in conducting research on:

Project 1

The effects of land use history on soil, seed banks, seed rain, early colonization, with implications for forest restoration at various scales

Project 2

Effects of distance from forest edge on diversity of insects, seed bank, early regeneration

Project 3

Assisted regeneration with bird perches

Project 4

Diversity of birds (or other taxa) in relation to forest regeneration

Project 5

Patterns and long-term effects of fragmentation and ‘parcelization’ of large farms into smaller second-home properties

Andrea would also welcome a student intern interested in learning about land management; she will be planting thousands of native species on the property during summer 2017 as well as maintaining existed planted areas and conducting monitoring and other activities.

Andrea has good relations with several local conservation organizations (Osa Birds, Osa Conservation, ASCONA, Fundación Neotrópica, Caminos de Osa) as well as other land owners on the Peninsula, and would be happy to help the right candidate design a project and choose additional field sites if necessary. She is also working with an NGO Osa Birds and the Osa community Dos Brazos del RIo Tigre, to establish a community-run native plant nursery. Working in some capacity with this community group would be a meaningful internship or social ecology project for a student with strong Spanish skills.

Andrea is happy to provide maps and more information upon request.  Contact her here.