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Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve Costa Rica: (RBAMB in Spanish) created on August 5th, 1993 by Executive Order No. 7354, and published in La Gaceta on August 20th, 1993, in order to protect and conserve biodiversity around the canton of San Ramón in Alajuela. Earlier, in 1975, by Executive Order No. 4960-A it was created as a Forest Reserve and in January 24th, 1991, by Executive Order No. 20 172-M, was redefined as a Protected Area in San Ramon , which makes it vulnerable to mining and logging, so it acquires it status as a Biological Reserve, managed by the West Campus of the University of Costa Rica. protects tropical forest area in the highlands surrounding San Ramon, in the Tilaran Mountains. which protects tropical forest area near San Ramon.
Another of its main objectives is to maintain natural processes in an unaltered state, so the area is available for studies and scientific research, environmental monitoring, education and maintenance of water, soil and genetic resources in a state of free and dynamic evolution for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve is part of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area and is located on the Atlantic slope of the Tilarán Mountain Range to the south and to the east from Quebrada Grande in Los Angeles of San Ramon, in the basin of San Lorenzo River. The reserve also lies alongside Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Children’s Eternal Rainforest to the Northwest. The reserve operates under the direction of the University of Costa Rica and the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAET).
This reserve is characterized by a broken and rugged mountain system along the main rivers, with very steep slopes, fragile rainforest soils and natural ecosystems of great value. For example, the northeast and southeast region and the mountain ranges that run parallel to rivers in the basin of San Lorenzo River, have a volcanic relief. It is also an area with different altitudes ranging from 600m to 1700m (1970 to 5580ft), Which means that there are species of very hot and cold weather. The weather also can vary continuously, but the temperatures are moderate, ranging between 17ºC and 25°C, (62ºF to 77ºF)with an average of 21ºC (69ºF).
Although the reserve has a dry season from January to May, it is very rainy almost all year long, with an average annual rainfall of 3,500 mm (138 in). This makes this area a supply source for the large number of springs that exist within it, both for human and industrial consumption and electricity production. Its water wealth is invaluable, with waterfalls, springs and a large number of rivers (San Lorenzo River, San Lorencito River, Jamaical River, Palmital River and Quebrada Grande), which has led to the installation of some dams hydropower in the buffer zone. The San Lorenzo River basin is considered by the ICE (Costa Rican Electricity Institute) as an area of great hydroelectric potential.
The relief of the Tilaran Mountain Range is essential for precipitations, as here occurs the orogenic rain, which are the result of the rise of moist air from the lowlands along the slopes of the mountains, which as climbing, get cool causing the formation of clouds finally precipitated as fog and drizzle, to which must be added the abundant rains, typical of the region.
From the moment of its creation as a Forest Reserve, the West Campus of the University of Costa Rica, has been involved in conservation and research. The fact that the administration is in the hands of the University of Costa Rica, has given a great international reputation, particularly in its capacity as a natural laboratory. This has allowed the surrounding communities to understand the university work in three areas: teaching, research and social action based on a true sustainable development. Also there have been many investigations that have resulted in dozens of species of flora and fauna new to science. It has even discovered a new family and several new genera of plants.
The Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve provides researchers and students the opportunity to work in a forest of lush beauty and biodiversity. The discovery of new species, both flora and fauna and the presence of endemic species found only in the reserve and nearby sites, such as the showy Ramonean Heliconia (Heliconia ramonensis), as well as many trees such as the exotic Passion Flower Tree (Passiflora tica), Loquat or Japanese plum (Eriobotrya japonica), Styrax or Benzoin (Styrax argenteus), “Areno” (Qualea paraensis), Cristobal (Platymiscium pinnatum), Oak (Quercus bumelioides), Lloron (Gordonia brandegeei), White Sapote (Casimiroa edulis) Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata), Bully Tree (Sideroxylon capiri), Andiroba or Caobilla (Carapa Guianensis), Yos (Sapium glandulosum), and a variety of palms, bromeliads, aroids and some 160 species of orchids.
In fact, in terms of biodiversity, the reserve vegetation here is one of the best known characteristics, both, from the collection made by Dr. Alberto Manuel Brenes in the past, as by long-term investigations that have made the botanists Dr. Jorge Gomez Laurito and M.Sc. Rodolfo Vargas Ortiz, in collaboration of biologist Victor Mora. These researchers have reported the presence of 1150 vascular plant species spread in over 500 species of trees and shrubs, 400 species of epiphytes and 100 species of vines and lianas.
Among the fauna to be found within the Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve listed 60 species of mammals, of which 8 species are endangered. Among the most notable species are the howler monkeys (Allouatta palliata) and capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus), tapirs (Tapirus bairdii), Bushy-tailed olingos (Bassaricyon gabbii), Red Brocket (Mazama americana), Spotted Pacas (Cuniculus paca), peccaries (Tayassu tajacu), kinkajous (Potos flavus), ocelots (Leopardus sparrows), jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), Neotropical Otters (Lontra longicaudis), Water Opossums (Chironectes minimus), and several species of bats and rodents. There is also some 35 species of reptiles, of which 22 are snakes, among which stand out the Fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper), Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii), Picado’s jumping pitviper (Atropoides picadoi) and Coral Snake (Micrurus mosquitensis), as well as 13 species of lizards, some 29 species of frogs and toads and at least one species of salamander (Nototriton abscondens), without leaving out some of the most diverse groups such as insects, with some 274 species of butterflies where highlights the White Witch or Ghost Moth (Thysania agrippina), and Peleides Blue Morpho or Common Morpho (Morpho peleides).
Similarly, it highlights the presence of some 233 species of birds in the reserve, of which 80% are in primary forest, 7.7% in “charral”, 5.5% in open fields and 1.7% are flying high. They have identified 19 species that are endangered, like the Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis), as well as many others like the Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga), Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus), Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculata), White Hawk (Leucopternis albicollis), Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), White-collared Swift (Streptoprocne zonaris), Black-faced Solitaire (Myadestes melanops), Great Curassow (Crax rubra) and a wide variety of hummingbirds.
The Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve provides researchers and students the opportunity to work in a virgin forest where vegetation is notoriously particular, in the comfort of a Biological Station whose chief attribute is to be immersed in the forest. This station is a 450m2 building located on the right bank of the San Lorencito River, which has the capacity to comfortably accommodate up to 45 people, restrooms, dining room, its own power plant, consisting of a hydroelectric generator capable of producing up to 12 kW, a large living room used as a classroom/lab, computer equipment, audiovisual equipment (TV, VCR, slide and overhead projectors), communication equipment by means of radios, luggage transport service, an extensive network of very well-defined paths, allowing the realization of long walks without fear of getting lost (there are trails on both banks of the San Lorencito River as well as mountain trails ranging from 800m to 1500m (2625 to 4920ft). the altitudinal gradient allows observation and studying the effect of environmental factors, both in the diversity of vegetation and the structure of the forest).
For your tranquility, at the Biological Station there is a whole rescue equipment, which includes beds, cardiopulmonary resuscitation tables, splinting, oxygen tank, a briefcase and a med kit with the basics to provide first aid. However it is recommended to bring clothes to change, rubber boots or shoes suitable for mud, rain coat, coats, repellent, towel, soap, toothpaste and toothbrush.
Access to the reserve is restricted because the admission is only possible for control and protection work as well as teaching and research activities. The official access is via the road to Colonia Palmareña, where is the Biological Station of San Lorencito River, with prior reservation at the Western Campus of the Biological Reserve Directorate.
Other nearby Costa Rica parks includes Arenal Volcano National Park, Arenal Volcano Emergency Zone Forest Reserve and Juan Castro Blanco National Park.
Getting to Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve:
From San Jose, take the Pan-American Highway to the town of San Ramón. From there, follow the road to La Fortuna of San Carlos, passing through the towns of San Juan, Los Angeles and La Balsa until you reach, after 38 km, Los Lagos. From here turn left and continue for 9 km on a gravel road leading to the Colonia Palmareña, passing through the ranger station. In the first crossing of the road, turn right, down a slope that leads to San Lorenzo River, arriving to the bridge and from here go up the slope for about 500 m until you reach the entrance gate to the Biological Station, which is to the left of the road. From now on, you have to walk 4 km to reach the station, the road is passable only for the vehicle of administration of the Reserve. Driving time from San José is about 4 hours.
From Liberia (Daniel Oduber Airport), equally scenic, take the road heading towards the city of Liberia. At Liberia’s intersection take the Pan-American Highway to San Ramon. From there, follow the road to La Fortuna of San Carlos, passing through the towns of San Juan, Los Angeles and La Balsa until you reach, after 38 km, Los Lagos. From here turn left and continue for 9 km on a gravel road leading to the Colonia Palmareña, passing through the ranger station. In the first crossing of the road, turn right, down a slope that leads to San Lorenzo River, arriving to the bridge and from here go up the slope for about 500 m until you reach the entrance gate to the Biological Station, which is to the left of the road. From now on, you have to walk 4 km to reach the station, the road is passable only for the vehicle of administration of the Reserve. Driving time from Liberia is about 4 hours.
You can take a bus San Jose – San Ramos which takes about 1.5 hours (Empresarios Unidos, 2222-0064) and then take another bus San Ramon – Bajo Rodriguez – La Fortuna (Transportes Carbachez e Hijos EIRL, 2451-1284) which takes about 1.5 hours.
You can also take a flight from the Juan Santamaria Airport to La Fortuna Airport, either with Sansa Airlines or Nature Air every day. From here you can rent a car and drive to the refuge or take a bus La Fortuna – San Ramon, which is about 25 minutes.
Location: 13 km from Los Lagos town, road to Bajo Rodríguez at Los Ángeles of San Ramón in Alajuela, Costa Rica.
San Ramon GPS Coordinates: 10°05’13.90″N, 84°28’11.11″O.
Bajo Rodriguez GPS Coordinates: 10°18’30.60″N, 84°31’45.44″O.
Size: 7800 ha (19,266 acres)
Altitude: from 550m to 1650m (1800ft to 5410ft) above sea level
Schedule: from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve Telephone: +(506) 2437-9906
Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve Fax: +(506) 2445-6005
Central Volcanic Mountain Range Conservation Area (ACCVC) Telephone: +(506) 2268-1587 / 2268-8091
INFOTUR Tourist Information: 1192