Center for Clean Development; Fundacion TUVA
- appropriate sanitation; ecosystem conservation; scientific research Appropriate sanitation systems.
ARC has collaborated with the Center for Clean Development to design and implement human waste treatment systems for developing countries that are more resource-conservative than current Western models. Such “appropriate sanitation systems” are technologically simple, affordable and constructed in-country. They are culturally sensitive and aesthetically pleasing, do not use water for waste transport and do not pollute. They prevent the transmission of disease while recovering and re-using excreta resources. ARC has proposed the establishment of such a system on a pilot basis in an urban barrio in San Jose, Costa Rica, and has obtained support for the concept from national government agencies and local non-profit organizations. Requests for funding are being considered by various U.S. and international grantors.
Rain forest watershed ecosystem conservation. In 1991, working with a local group, ARC formed Fundacion TUVA, a Costa Rican nonprofit organization. The organizational goal is to enhance the national capacity to initiate and carry out forested watershed management programs that successfully deal with the tensions between conservation and development. Providing counsel and U.S. representation, ARC secured more than $1 million and purchased 4,000+ acres of lowland, wet tropical rain forest. This forest is considered by international experts to be one of the finest extant examples of its type in the world.
At present, TUVA is managing a 6000 acre reserve of forest and five miles of adjacent Pacific Ocean beach on Peninsula de Osa. The primary forest is being preserved, and previously logged areas rehabilitated using innovative organic agroforestry techniques. Local Costa Ricans are being employed as an incentive for them to stay in the wilderness. Native inhabitants of purchased land are allowed to continue in residency at no cost. TUVA has meanwhile developed models for national park buffer zone ecosystem management through the use of integrated conservation and agrarian/ecotourism projects. A conservation easement program has been developed to allow local property owners to retain title and receive compensation for protecting rain forest lands. These efforts facilitated the federal government’s 1999 declaration of a protected wildlife corridor extending from the southeastern tip of the Osa to the 100,000-acre Corcovado National Park in the northwest, a long-time TUVA goal.
Marine investigations. In 1993, an ARC scientist began an investigation of the waters of the marine protected area, which bound the Osa on the northeast, known as the Golfo Dulce. Initiated in part to halt the locating of a proposed chip mill and deep-water port in a wilderness area near the head of the Gulf, this work resulted in removal of the plant to a less sensitive, previously industrialized area. Golfo Dulce research continues, and is now being carried out in conjunction with the Marine Biological Laboratory of the Université de la Rochelle in France. Federal and local municipal funding has been obtained to assist in this endeavor.
Sea Turtles. ARC also has funded a five-year investigation of sea turtle nesting and hatching success on TUVA managed beaches, with work carried out by a College of the Atlantic intern and a local Costa Rican assistant.