e continue the drive to Tapir Valley, a protected mountain valley property owned by local landowners who use the valley only for forest tours and nightwalks.
The valley is enclosed by steep mountain on three sides, giving it the feeling of isolated, primordial jungle. Laurens and I walk through the reserve and meet Donald, the landowner who has spent the last several years restoring the land and building a trail system for guests.
Donald takes us a short distance, where he had been seeing Snowcaps earlier in the day.
Male Snowcap hummingbirds have uniquely striking purple and bronze coloration, and they are undoubtedly among the most striking birds on earth.
As we watch the Snowcaps above, I realize how vivid the entire valley is, not just the birds, but the wildflowers and insects.
A few years ago, we visited the Osa Peninsula in Southwestern Costa Rica, which is by far the most protected land in the country, and in my notes I talked about how protected lands needed to be large to be effective.
Costa Rica’s original land conservation projects have been criticized as being simply too small to adequately conserve biodiversity.
But there is a story to be told in small patches of protected land. Costa Rica is now twenty-five percent protected. And there is not only one way to protect land. Small patches, like this privately owned valley buffering up against the park, counts too.
Every nation will have to find its own path to protecting its lands and converting to renewable energy. Costa Rica’s experiments show us the different ways both can be achieved.
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