A wildlife sanctuary, positioned on top of the Continental Divide in western Costa Rica, the Preserve extends down both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes. The resultant combination of climatic and geographic factors creates temperature and humidity gradients, which change dramatically over relatively short distances. The altitude varies from about 600 meters in the lower reaches of the Peñas Blancas River, to 1842 meters at the top of the Cerro Tres Amigos.
The Preserve supports six different vegetation communities (Life Zones). There are over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 120 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 2,500 species of plants (among them 420 different kinds of orchids), as well as tens of thousands of insect species. Wildlife includes the Jaguar, Ocelot, Bairds Tapir, Three-wattled Bellbird, Barenecked Umbrella-bird and Resplendent Quetzal.
In 1972 under the threat of homesteading in the surrounding cloud forest, visiting scientist George Powell and his wife joined forces with long-time resident Wilford Guindon to promote the establishment of a nature preserve. An initial land purchase of 328 hectares formed the core of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. In 1975 the 554-hectares community watershed reserve was added.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve is a biological preserve privately owned and managed by the Tropical Science Center (TSC), a Costa Rican nonprofit, scientific research and education association based in San Jose and established in 1962
Finca Valverde is among the oldest farms in the traditionally farming community of Monteverde. The Valverde family, one of the firsts to settle in the area, owns it. On their still productive land, the Valverde's harvest coffee for export, as well as most of the vegetables that are served in their small hotel.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica
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