Re-planting trees: La Sabana Metropolitan Park

What might be the objectives of creating a park in the capital of a country? Find a space for families to enjoy a lunch surrounded by nature, athletes escaping from the rivers of concrete and provide a lung full of biodiversity.

In the 70’s when the realization of La Sabana Metropolitan Park was raised in the capital of Costa Rica, many people were happy that they would finally manage to have a green island among many buildings and transit. Then, the government allocated a budget for the transformation of an airport in an area full of trees, a beautiful lake and sports facilities.

Vacaciones escolares,parque La Sabana.Foto.Manuel Vega 26-01-11.Photo by

However, due to bad planning decisions, the developers planted about 50% with non-native trees. Some species were pine, cypress and eucalyptus. The latter comes from Australia and have demonstrated that easily lose their branches in a tropical climate; causing large amounts of debris on sidewalks and a latent danger to people; also many of these trees become sick and die. Another problem is that around the non-native trees, it is difficult to see birds, and bees are scarce.

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Photos by Unanuevasabana

Therefore, the government and other institutions such as Inbio started a plan for re-planting La Sabana with native trees. On 2009, all the old and non-native trees were identified and marked to be removed. Also, with the collaboration of local sawmills, the timber in good condition were used to build chairs and tables for the park facilities.

3218475_0Photo by

During the logging process, many complaints emerged from citizens who claimed that the government was damaging the biodiversity of the park. Then, a big information campaign started explaining to the citizens the benefits of the project; as a result, local organisations provide their help to support the project.

9563987143_34707dc643_bPhoto by Unanuevasabana

Five years later, it is amazing to see the campaigns with volunteers planting trees, which by the way, are more than 2,000 and it is expected to reach 5,000 trees. Moreover, it is exciting to watch the native trees beginning to fill with fruit and flowers; and some people have already seen species of birds and insects that was not common to see in the park.

Then……. the project is on track.

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Photos by Unanuevasabana

La Sabana Metropolitan Park is the example that creating a park is not simply to plant trees and cross fingers that everything works in favour of biodiversity. It is necessary to have initiative and set a well design plan to succeed.

Posted by Linette Alfaro Cordero



About Biodiversity Conservation Blog

I am an Associate Professor at The Australian National University and convene a (very awesome) course called Biodiversity Conservation. Myself and students in the course contribute to this blog.
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One Response to Re-planting trees: La Sabana Metropolitan Park

  1. Thanks Linette for a lovely insight to some conservation works in your own country. Phil

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