Biodiversity Cattleya_skinneri_Cabeza_Grande

Published on March 23rd, 2014 | by admin


Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica – New Orchid Species

It’s been a few years now since a new orchid species was discovered at Bosque de Paz Eco-lodge.  But, the cooperative work goes on with the University of Costa Rica in identifying and classifying the ever expanding list of Latin names.

It was a few years ago that Adam P Karremans and Melania Muñoz García announced the discovery and classification of Pleurothallis silvae-pacis, a new orchid species entirely new to science, that was found at the Bosque de Paz Private Biological Reserve in Costa Rica.

Adam Karremans is a researcher at Lankester Botanical Gardens, University of Costa Rica, and Melania Muñoz García is the biologist in charge of Bosque de Paz Orchid Project since 2004.

Pleurothallis silvae-pacis, a new orchid species

Pleurothallis silvae-pacis, a new orchid species

Adam first became aware of the find on a trip to Bosque de Paz in 2008. “I had never seen such a species before, and tried to give it a name. For some time I had misidentified it as Pleurothallis angusta. But then, with the ongoing research on the whole Pleurothallidinae subtribe (to which this species belongs), the case was reviewed in 2010. After careful comparison, which is done comparing flowers and plants of the type material,  illustrations, descriptions and wild collected plants of P. angusta and other close relatives, we came to the conclusion that this was a different species which had no name. The species was quite hard to place within the Pleurothallis genus because of its intermediate features.

In any case Melania and I wrote an article publishing this relatively beautiful and strange new species in 2011. I am at the moment also extracting DNA from it just to be sure of its placement.”

Their findings were published in The Orchid Review in November, 2011.  The Orchid Review is the oldest and most influential orchid magazine in the world and essential reading for anyone with a passion for orchids. It is more than 100 years old and is the orchid journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. The Orchid Review, edited by Sarah Brooks, is published four times a year and has been chosen as the official journal of the European Orchid Council.  The new orchid species is in the Bosque de Paz Orchid Garden now for all to see.

Many bird watchers and orchid enthusiasts have visited Bosque de Paz over the years.One of them, Dr. Stephen Kirby, arrived in for the first time in 1996. Dr. Kirby began visiting Bosque de Paz, first as a birder, and then later with a budding interest in wild orchids. He now is an expert that gives international conferences about his research in orchids at Bosque de Paz.

Tiny orchid in Bosque de Paz orchid garden

Tiny orchid in the Dr. Kirby Bosque de Paz orchid garden

He began supporting and coordinating the orchid project in 2004, and the Bosque de Paz Orchid Garden is named after him.

Dr. Kirby has written of Bosque de Paz Biological Reserve, “Bosque de Paz means “Forest of Peace” in Spanish. For a visitor, there can be no more peaceful place on Earth than Bosque de Paz Reserve, sitting under the Terrace in a late-afternoon downpour, rain tapping on its metal roof and dripping from the trees, and the sound of water rushing down the valley. In the early morning as the sun first touches the forest and mists rise from its warmth, the sounds of howler monkeys and the squeaky-grating calls of hummingbirds in aerial combat greet the early risers. Adding to these daytime visual experiences, flashing fireflies grace the evenings, the crisp night air is often filled with perfume of night-scented flowers and, on clear nights, the glow of the moon and brilliant Milky Way light the footpaths near the Lodge.”

This year marks 18 years since Bosque de Paz Cloud Forest Reserve and twelve-room Lodge and Dining Room for the guests, began serving domestic and international eco-tourists. During those twelve years, the remarkable diversity of wildlife and plants, and the splendid forest access along the 22-km system of trails in this cloud forest, the Reserve have made it a favorite of visitors and nature guides who return again and again to explore its fascinating trails and pristine waterways.


Private Reserve Owners, Vanessa & Federico

The Reserve started in the 1980’s when the owners, the Federico González-Pinto family, quietly began buying mixed forest and deforested land that had been used for grazing. The 1000-hectare (2500-acre) property is now an evolving mixed forest, some primary, others mature reforested, others being reforested. The aims of the Reserve are to promote continued forest conservation and forest restoration, to provide a corridor for animal migration between the Juan Castro Blanco and Poás Volcano National Parks, and to provide sustained employment for local residents, many of whom live in nearby the nearby Bajos del Toro Amarillo.

At 1500 to 2200 meters elevation on the Caribbean slope of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range in the upper Rio Toro Valley, the Reserve spans the boundary between middle- and upper-elevation cloud-forest environments. This crossroad of tropical life results in an exceptional diversity of plants and animals. Birding guides especially value the more than 370 bird species of birds that have been identified at the Reserve, more than one third of the species found in all Costa Rica. These include examples of many species of Costa Rica’s most spectacular, rare, or hard-to-find species, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, the Scaled Antpitta, the Emerald Toucanet, the Three-Wattled Bellbird, the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, the Zeledonia, the Black-faced Solitaire, the Golden-browed Chlorophonia, and the elusive Silvery-fronted Tapaculo. Especially appealing are the 27 species of hummingbirds that visit the Reserve.

Guest looking through orchid microscope

Guest looking through orchid microscope

Leading orchid scientists and orchid enthusiasts have also marveled at the hundreds of species of orchid found at Bosque de Paz. An orchid garden was created near the Lodge about ten years ago, with plants relocated from fallen trees and branches along the trails and now it boasts more than 215 verified orchid species.  Plan to visit Bosque de Paz Private Reserve soon and tour their orchid garden.




About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Hide Buttons