Discover the biodiversity of lowland tropical rainforest at this internationally renowned research station. With its state-of-the-art laboratories, on-line geographic information system, extensive trails, and large forest reserve bordering Braulio Carrillo National Park, La Selva is one of the world’s most important sites for tropical ecosystem research. La Selva has about 73% of its area under primary tropical rain forest.
Each year, more than 250 scientists from some 25 countries and thousands of international students come to La Selva to study tropical ecology. Species diversity is spectacular, including more than 1,900 species of plants, 330 species of trees, 436 species of birds, and 450 species of ants. Showy birds, such as toucans, parrots, trogons, and hummingbirds, and mammals, including monkeys, peccaries, agoutis, and coatis, are frequently seen.
Dr. Leslie Holdridge originally established la Selva in 1954, as a farm dedicated to experimentation on mixed plantations for the improvement of natural resources management. It was purchased in 1968 by the Organization for Tropical Studies and declared a private biological reserve and station. Since then, it has become one of the most important sites in the world for research on tropical rain forest. Over 240 scientific papers are published yearly from research conducted at the site.
While temperature variation is slight year round, daily temperatures can fluctuate from 19°C (66°F) to 31°C (88°F). The climate is tropical wet, with an average annual rainfall of 4 meters (13 feet). Although rain nourishes the forest throughout the year, the rainiest months are July, November, and December.
La Selva is bordered on the south by Braulio Carrillo National Park, which contains more than 46,000 hectares of forestland and is the core conservation unit of the 91,000-hectare Cordillera Volcanica Central Biosphere Reserve.
Braulio Carrillo National Park extends down to La Selva through a forest corridor that descends in elevation from 2,906 meters at Volcán Barva to 35 meters above sea level at La Selva. This reserve, consisting of both La Selva's protected environs and the Park, has four major tropical life zones and includes more than 5,000 species of vascular plants, of which more than 700 species are trees.
The fauna is similarly diverse. Large predators include jaguars, pumas, and bushmasters. Thousands of arthropod species are being currently recorded at La Selva, and more than 400 species of resident and migratory birds have been sighted in the reserve, representing almost half of Costa Rica's bird species.
Building on a strong base of systematic biology and evolutionary biology, research at La Selva has diversified to include ecosystem-level projects, physiological ecology, soil science, and forestry trials of native tree species. These studies have resulted in the publication of more than 1,600 scientific articles, theses, and books and perhaps another 1,000 write-ups of course projects.
La Selva's juxtaposition of protected ecosystems and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities is unique in the world's wet tropics. An extensive trail system of more than 50 kilometers provides access to a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The entire property has been topographically surveyed to a high degree of accuracy and 3,000 permanent posts mark the 50 x 100 meter grids.
Two well-equipped laboratories, including a large analytical lab, offer air-conditioned workspace, and house common-use equipment. Spatially referenced data are managed on the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the same workstations service the e-mail and Internet connections.
At the confluence of two major rivers in the Caribbean lowlands of northern Costa Rica, La Selva comprises 1,600 hectares (3,900 acres) of tropical wet forests and disturbed lands. It averages 4 m (over 13 feet!) of rainfall that is spread rather evenly throughout the year.
For overnight visits, on a space available basis, lodging is in dormitory-style rooms that contain six beds, each two rooms sharing a hot-water bath.
Meals are served in the cafeteria at set hours (: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., Lunch: 12:00 m to 1:00 p.m., Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.). Food is wholesome and traditional Costa Rican with vegetarian offerings available. Box lunches can also be arranged.
Gift Shop:open everyday from 7:00am thru 7:00pm.
THINGS TO TAKE
Prescription medicines as needed, good walking shoes, hot weather clothes, insect repellent, umbrella or rain jacket, flashlight, binoculars, sun screen, film and camera extra batteries, plastic bags to keep film/paper dry.
a. Our dinning facilities serve meals according to a schedule and to the number of people expected to attend to each service. Please provide us with your arrival time so that we can serve you better:
b. The use of sandals or walking barefooted is not permitted on the trails for safety reasons. Entrance might be prohibited by the administration of the station if this rule is not follow.
c. Manipulating species (flora and fauna) is not allowed in our biological stations for both conservation and safety reasons.
d. Children must come accompanied by a responsible adult that must supervise them at all times.
If you are hypersensitive to insects, bees or wasps, always carry a sting kit with you.