Hurricane Otto Followup

ACG bomberos distributing food and water
According to IACG’s informants, the ACG seems to have escaped Hurricane Otto relatively unscathed. Roger Blanco writes:

There really wasn’t any impact on ACG infrastructure, with the exception of some trees fallen across different roads and trails. We have been cleaning those up the last few days. Our major wok has been to support the local emergency committees with ACG staff and drivers helping to move people around, distribute water and food, help make inspections and generally reach out to the most affected communities.

Those of you plugged in to the ACG on social media will have seen many great examples of this work over the last few days as the ACG staff (as well as staff from throughout SINAC) have played a major role in the national response to this crisis.

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Tropical Storm Otto


As you may be aware, tropical storm Otto is expected to make landfall in Costa Rica, potentially as a hurricane. The projected trajectory is along the Costa Rica Nicaraguan border. At the very least ACG can expect heavy rain over the next several days so be aware of potentially bad road conditions and river crossings becoming impassable. Maria Marta has pulled some information together in the document linked below.


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Santa Rosa Supersite in the Tico Times

The Tico Times has a profile of ACG researcher Arturo Sánchez-Azofeifa and his Santa Rosa based TDF monitoring projects

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Researcher Input Requested – New Nature Trail

IACG sent around this email on behalf of the Ecotourism program. We are posting it here as well to try to reach as many people as possible. If you have research activities near the existing trails, this could affect you, so please take the time to respond to this request.

(If you’d like to be included on the low-frequency IACG listserv in the future, sign up at the link.)

The Eco-tourism Program in ACG is interested in expanding a trail system near the Casona to showcase important aspects of the forest and ongoing research occurring nearby.

However, as they plan out the trail location they want to ensure that (1) any areas of long-term research or monitoring are avoided so as not to impact the study and (2) any relevant research in the area is described to the public.

To facilitate this process please get in touch with Johan Martínez of the ecotourism program at

1. GPS coordinates of study locations in the Casona area (particularly within the square indicated in the attached image). This will help the Eco-tourism office avoid research plots as they begin planning


2. A short summary or publications that you think Eco-tourism could showcase or describe to visitors.

Even if you don’t have research plots in the area, now would be an opportunistic time to send updated GPS coordinates of your ACG study areas, a short description and any publications resulting from all your awesome work to Roger Blanco (if you have not done so yet). This will help keep Roger’s database up-to-date.

area of interest new nature trail

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Report on construction of allometric functions for Costa Rican forests

At the link find the report: Construcción de Funciones Alométricas para Cos ta Rica en el Contexto del Proyecto de Protección Ambiental a través de la Protección d e los Bosques de Centro América (Informe final) by Dr. William Fonseca

The overall objective was to evaluate the capacity for climate change mitigation by forest ecosystems, and to develop the technical capacity that would allow the country to more easily participate in carbon markets, contributing to the REDD+ strategy of Costa Rica and to the goal of carbon neutrality.

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New soil maps and soil app for Costa Rica

I missed this until now, but this is probably relevant to many ACG researchers. The CIA (Center for Agronomic Research) of the University of Costa Rica released a new soil map in 2013 and have updated the map in 2016. The map (shape files) and some supporting information are available at the link. Here’s a news release from UCR regarding the update.

Furthermore, they have created a mobile app that provides access to the data. The app is available at Google play or the Apple App store. enlace a pagina de CIA

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ACG aerial photo preview

Those of you who are familiar with the InvestigadoresACG project know that one of our long-term goals is to create a repository of ACG knowledge that benefits all of our user communities. We decided to start with a set of historical aerial photos of the ACG from different time periods (you may have seen them in the ACG library, if you knew where to look) that have never been digitized. I thought it would be a good time to share a few project images. We hope to make high resolution geo-tagged version of these images available on the ACG website soon. Stay tuned!

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ACG Parataxonomists in Global Context

A recent article in Conservation Biology considers the ACG parataxonomist program in the context of similar parataxonomist and paraecologist programs in India, Papua New Guinea, and southern Africa.

Citizen science has been gaining momentum in the United States and Europe, where citizens are literate and often interested in science. However, in developing countries, which have a dire need for environmental data, such programs are slow to emerge, despite the large and untapped human resources in close proximity to areas of high biodiversity and poorly known floras and faunas. Thus, we propose that the parataxonomist and paraecologist approach, which originates from citizen-based science, is well suited to rural areas in developing countries. Being a paraecologist or a parataxonomist is a vocation and entails full-time employment underpinned by extensive training, whereas citizen science involves the temporary engagement of volunteers. Both approaches have their merits depending on the context and objectives of the research. We examined 4 ongoing paraecologist or parataxonomist programs in Costa Rica, India, Papua New Guinea, and southern Africa and compared their origins, long-term objectives, implementation strategies, activities, key challenges, achievements, and implications for resident communities. The programs supported ongoing research on biodiversity assessment, monitoring, and management, and participants engaged in non-academic capacity development in these fields. The programs in Southern Africa related to specific projects, whereas the programs in Costa Rica, India, and Papua New Guinea were designed for the long term, provided sufficient funding was available. The main focus of the paraecologists’ and parataxonomists’ activities ranged from collection and processing of specimens (Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea) or of socioeconomic and natural science data (India and Southern Africa) to communication between scientists and residents (India and Southern Africa). As members of both the local land user and research communities, paraecologists and parataxonomists can greatly improve the flow of biodiversity information to all users, from local stakeholders to international academia.

A previous academic article on ACG parataxonomists by Janzen and Hallwachs was published in PLOS one in 2011.

Schmiedel, U., Araya, Y., Bortolotto, M. I., Boeckenhoff, L., Hallwachs, W., Janzen, D., Kolipaka, S. S., Novotny, V., Palm, M., Parfondry, M., SMansis, A., & Toko, P. (2016). Contributions of paraecologists and parataxonomists to research, conservation, and social development. Conservation Biology, 30(3), 506–519.

Janzen, D. H., & Hallwachs, W. (2011). Joining Inventory by Parataxonomists with DNA Barcoding of a Large Complex Tropical Conserved Wildland in Northwestern Costa Rica. PLOS ONE, 6(8), e18123.

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Universal Access to the Sendero Natural

Congratulations are in order for the Programa de Ecoturismo of the ACG, who inaugurated the renovated sendero natural as a universal access trail this past Friday. The new trail is wheelchair accessible and has audio listening stations. Take a video tour and listen to the audio at the link.

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ACG Fire Control Program in the news

Many members of the ACG family are featured in this Teletica report on the ACG firefighters – Salvando el Bosque Seco. The video runs 17 minutes and is from the TV newsmagazine show 7 Dias (think 60 minutes for US-based folks). Contains nice drone footage of a controlled burn in the fire break and lots of commentary and background from Julio and Roger.

Take a look. This is well-deserved recognition for a group of people whose efforts underpin everything else that happens in the ACG.

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