From the Restoring Our Watershed blog
Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is known for its starkly contrasting seasons, alternating between six months of hot, dry weather and six months of consistent rain and humidity. This year, the first rains of the season were light sprinkles in early April. As we begin May, dark clouds are prevalent and late afternoon rain is becoming a regular occurrence.
There has been no measurable rainfall from January to April for longer than many Nandamojo residents have been here. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. Historic rainfall data from Santa Cruz show that there used to be measurable amounts of rain all twelve months of the year. In 1954, the first zero appears on rainfall charts, as there was no rain in February of that year. In 1959, the dry spell extended to a three-month period from January to March. April then became a dry month in 1974.
The correlation between forests and rainfall is very nuanced and not fully understood, as many factors affect how much rain falls in any one place. It is interesting to note, however, that the decrease in annual rainfall and the creation of our four-month dry season coincided to decades in which large swaths of Guanacaste’s dry tropical forest were cleared to create sugar plantations and cattle pastures.
Needless to say, measurable rainfall on April 2nd – reported by Ray Beise of Pura Jungla – was very welcome.
The rain’s arrival marks Restoring Our Watershed’s first planting season in partnership with the Blue Flag Committee. The group has been organizing communal meetings in watershed towns, during which residents discuss the need to protect and renew our ecosystem.
Already this year, ten landowners have agreed to reforest at least part of their land. The word is spreading through watershed communities about the work ROW is doing, and more forest means more habitat, better infiltration of rainwater, and a healthier watershed.
You can help by donating online to Restoring Our Watershed. Donations are needed to buy trees and plants for the 2012 reforestation season. For more information, contact ROW’s director, Matt Rosensteele at (506) 8718 3887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.