Affiliated Research Projects

Impact of Economic Change on Food Habits & Nutritional Health

This study entitled, “The Impact of Economic Change on Food Habits and Nutritional Health in Monteverde, Costa Rica: Mixing Food Production and Tourism” is now in its second year.  The research funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation is intended to expand our holistic understanding of the complexities involved in processes of economic transition.  Through various research methodologies, the project seeks to answer questions such as:

  1. What effects has the increasing reliance on eco-tourism as a means of income generation had on the way in which people acquire, prepare, and consume foods in the Monteverde region?
  2. What new needs are being created with the increasing reliance on eco-tourism?
  3. Is the existing infrastructure of Monteverde equipped to handle large scale tourism while still offering sustainable health and well-being solutions for the residents of this area?
  4. Are there differences in body composition and health status patterns among people involved in agriculture than in people involved in eco-tourism?
  5. Are the existing and developing economic strategies in the area offering achievable strategies for the fulfillment of the nutritional demands of local workers?

These and other questions will be submitted to rigorous analysis through the collection of anthropometric, sociodemographic, occupational, and informal qualitative data and observations.  It is anticipated that results from this study will be able to inform local and national policy formation as Costa Rica continues to explore tourism as a source of revenue. This project is a collaborative research initiative between the University of South Florida (USA) and the Monteverde Institute.

Tropical Forest Reforestation

The Fundación Conservacionista Costarricense (Costa Rican Conservation Foundation) and the Monteverde Institute have collaborated to support reforestation on the Pacific slope of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Please check the poster for data on survival and growth rates of tree seelings that were planted on conservation land, tagged, and followed over time. 

Click here for poster.


Cloud Forest Plant-Climate Interactions

Tropical forests are often thought of as aseasonal environments; however, many experience at least one dry season annually. Tropical montane cloud forests in Monteverde are no exception, as rain and cloud cover abate between the months of February and May.

This project, coordinated by researchers based at the University of California Berkeley, explores the implication of seasonality for the health and survival of tropical montane cloud forest plants. Local logistics are facilitated by the Monteverde Institute. For more information, please contact grgoldsmith@berkeley.edu

Greg's research has also enabled the development of an innovative educational platform for sharing knowledge on cloud forest ecology. See more details below.

Canopy in the Clouds

Canopy In The Clouds uses innovative and immersive media from the tropical montane cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica to serve as a platform for inquiry-based, K-12 earth and life science education (www.canopyintheclouds.com). We are particularly excited to offer over 25 lesson plans on themes such as water, weather, soils, ecology and the process of science, focused primarily on 6-8th grades. All materials are normed to national science education standards, peer-reviewed by a team of scientists and educators, and made available free of cost via our website. 

Canopy In The Clouds is an interdisciplinary collaboration between emerging professionals in ecology, visual arts, and education. It is our attempt to envision how students will interact with digital media in the 21st century in order to engage in inquiry-based learning with a big 'wow' factor. Funding was provided by the National Geographic Society, the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Tropical Science Center of Costa Rica. Local logistics were facilitated by the Monteverde Institute. For more information, please contact info@canopyintheclouds.com

Come explore the canopy!

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