Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is a private protected area with great scientific and economic value, and without a doubt a positive example of conservation both nationally and internationally.
Since its establishment in October 1972, it has served as a living laboratory for hundreds of scientific studies and, since 1974, as a destination for thousands of visitors, mainly foreign, who have in some way made the development of ecotourism in the Monteverde region possible.
Today, the value of the reserve for the Costa Rican and global society is higher than it was 32 years ago, and consequently the management activities must be oriented towards the fulfillment of conservation objectives for this treasure of humanity, whose natural richness justifies its creation.
Location offers that richness
The majority of the influence region in the Monteverde Biological Reserve is located along the Cordillera de Tilarán, and a smaller portion to the north, towards the plains of San Carlos. The continental divide is located in this region (from northwest to southeast). To the east, the slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán descend toward the plains of San Carlos, and to the west, toward the Pacific coast.
Topographically, the region can be divided into four zones: the first one, in the middle, has mountainous relief with steep slopes (greater than 25 degrees), located between the 1000 and 1800 m above sea level. The second, made up of high hills, peaks and deep valleys, crossed by numerous streams and creeks, between 500 and 1000 m above sea level along the mountain range. The third zone consists of low hills with a strongly undulating topography, and slopes between 12 and 25 degrees, also along the mountain range between 500 and 1000 m. Finally, the areas with lower slopes (around 15 degrees) appear to the northeast, heading to the San Carlos plains. The most important elevations in the region include Cerro Sin Nombre (1859 m), Cerro Chomogo (1799 m), Cerro Amigos (1842 m) and Cerro Ojo de Agua (1761 m). The Arenal Volcano (1633 m) is located to the north. The Pacific side presents overall steeper slopes than the Caribbean side (25 and 15 degrees, respectively).
Geology and geomorphology.
The main orographic accident in the region where the Monteverde Biological Reserve is the Cordillera de Tilaran, which corresponds to the orogenic and post-orogenic phases and dates from the Tertiary period (late Miocene and Pliocene epochs). The Arenal Volcano dates from the Quaternary period and its volcanic activity continues to the present.
The region is characterized mainly by the presence of rocks of volcanic origin from the Tertiary and Quaternary periods, in the portion corresponding to the Arenal Volcano and its surroundings. Also found here are sedimentary and intrusive igneous rocks, such as the adamellite rocks of Guacimal, located to the west of the region, although its extension is smaller.
Two geomorphological units exist in the influence region: mostly landforms of volcanic origin, and some landforms of alluvial sedimentation. Geological erosion in the region has been an active process, and it is considered that the rugged topography and the strong, persistent rainfall are the main contributors to this natural process. The Pacific slope presents steeper slopes than the Caribbean slope. The highest peak is Cerro Sin Nombre (1859 m).
The Cordillera de Tilarán has two volcanoes: Arenal and Cerro Chato. The former is an active volcano, while the latter is currently inactive. The Arenal volcano possesses an almost perfect cone and covers approximately 4 km in diameter. After several centuries of inactivity, the Arenal erupted in 1968 burying the town of Pueblo Nuevo, the eruption was to the northwest, throwing ash, lava, burning clouds and gas through a lateral opening, affecting a surface of 12 km2 and scattering ash in a radius of 40 km.