Tropical Dry Forest

Blood Tree - Palo de Sangre (Pterocarpus rohrii)
Lost Canyon Nature Reserve
Photo: Richard Leonardi

One of the principle objectives of the Lost Canyon Private Nature Reserve is the restoration and conservation of Nicaragua's vanishing tropical dry forest flora and fauna. Tropical dry forest is the most endangered of all tropical ecosystems. In Nicaragua this is due to ecosystem's relatively resilient soils and more livable annual rain fall totals, making tropical dry forests Nicaragua's most intensively cultivated and populated ecosystem. To many, the term "tropical dry forest" appears to be an oxymoron. Indeed tropical dry forest is an ecological paradox. Trees and plants must withstand the intense climatic contrast of 6 months of tropical rains (May-Oct) followed by 6 months of near drought (Nov-April) annually. This has created a highly specialized flora with varying techniques for competing for light during the wet half of the year, when tropical dry forest is lush and dense, and then surviving the extreme stress of desert-like conditions for the other half. During the dry period most tropical dry forest trees located away from surface or shallow ground water shed foliage and the majority of flowering and seed production takes place.

+ Climate Change

Lost Canyon tree nursery
Photo: Richard Leonardi

Change climate change. The Lost Canyon Nature Reserve annually reforests areas of the nature park damaged by previous land owners. Reforestation efforts are targeted at maximizing water infiltration, propagating endangered flora, controlling soil erosion and maximizing the variety of food sources for Lost Canyon's wildlife. For these reasons Lost Canyon has selected trees for reforestation that are native endangered species, fruit/nut trees and quick growing shade species. Planting is done in random, mixed fashion - one that mimics natural re-growth - with an eye to quickly creating light competition and cooling soil temperatures, essential in tropical dry forest to fomenting rapid natural re-growth. Lost Canyon also combines linear planting strategies (to optimize future seed dispersion) with high density reforestation in areas critical to subterranean water supplies. Due to the reserve's mountainous rocky terrain and high daytime temperatures, reforestation is both a logistical and physical challenge. Each hole is dug with a sharp metal stake to dislodge stones and trees are transported to reforestation sites on horseback. Lost Canyon is grateful to report that reforestation efforts have been a success, with more than 7,200 trees representing 29 species planted from 2006-2012. We are proud to do our part in the fight for positive climate change while simultaneously working to restore endangered tropical dry forest biodiversity and Lake Managua's northern watershed.