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MontrealBiography
MontrealOur Mission
MontrealInfrastructure
MontrealWhat we do?
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MontrealBiography

n the first months of 1944, Costa Rican businessmen Raúl Gurdián Rojas and Ramón Madrigal Antillón partnered with Spanish businessman Pablo Funtanet to acquire a
1,749-hectare (4,321 acres) property in the area of La Legua, Barba, located in San Rafael, Vara Blanca. During a three-decade period, the property conserved its primary forest, which coexisted with some insipient activities of cattle pasturing that did not exceed more than 100 hectares (247 acres).

In 1979 Elena, Raúl, Rodolfo, and Cristina Gurdián Montealegre, partners in Cordilleras Centrales, acquired Madrigal and Funtanet´s shares. By that time, the extension of the property had been reduced to 610 hectares (1,507 acres).

That same year, Raúl and Rodolfo Gurdián Montealegre formed the company Ahorro Forestal de Costa Rica and acquired 50% of the Cordilleras Centrales shares to later subscribe reforestation contracts numbers 785 and 791 under the Forestry Incentive Law established May 8, 1978. The reforestation project subsequently began and a 7.5-kilometer (4.6-miles) road was built with its respective bridges communicating San Rafael, Vara Blanca, with the forested areas of the property and edge of the Braulio Carrillo National Park.

Since this was a new experience in the forest field of Costa Rica, forestry expert Jorge Rodríguez Quirós was called upon to oversee development and was assigned the task of Project Director. He recommended the repopulation of pastures with commercial trees such as Alder (Acuminata Alnus) and White Cedar (Lusitanica Cupressus) to initiate their respective breeding and eventual transplanting to open field. Initially, repopulation took place in the existing pasture areas and some adjacent redoubts of primary forest.

The total area of planted forest reached 150 hectares (371 acres). It was abandoned in 1989, and immediately after that the subscribed contracts were suspended. The failure of the project was given to technical factors of a diverse nature that served as an example to professionals in forest sciences of not to replace a primary forest with commercial trees, unless the species chosen are native to the area, in order to reduce the existing problems of adaptability, as in the case of the Alder and White Cedar.

In 1997 the entire property was put under the Voluntary Forest Regime and in 1998 the first Environmental Services Contract was signed using the National Forestry Finance Fund (Fondo Nacional de Financiamiento Forestal-FONAFIFO) and was supervised by the Central Volcanic Mountain Range Foundation (Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Cordillera Volcánica Central-FUNDECOR). At the moment, there are 592 hectares (1,469 acres) assigned to the Environmental Services Program which is equivalent to 97% of the total area of the property.

MontrealOur Mission

To support the community of San Rafael, Vara Blanca, in its conservation efforts, contributing to Costa Rican and international efforts to protect the environment, which is threatened every day by development and its effects on global warming. To show the world the ecological wealth of the tropical cloud forest ecosystem located on the property adjacent to the Central Mountain Range Conservation Area of Costa Rica (Braulio Carrillo National Park) on whose wealth and well being the present and future society depends.

MontrealInfrastructure

The property has a basic infrastructure that consists of a one-bedroom house for the ranger, a storage facility for materials, a generator shed and a 1.6-kilometer (1 mile) road with its respective bridges.

MontrealWhat we do?

The forest has a direct role in the protection and improvement of the environment for the following reasons:

- Greenhouse gas mitigation (fixation, reduction, sequestration, storage, and absorption).
- Protection of water resources for urban, rural or hydroelectric use. -Biodiversity protection for conservation and sustainable scientific and pharmaceutical research.
- Investigation and genetic improvement.
- Ecosystem and biomass protection and natural scenic beauty for scientific objectives and tourism.
 
 
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