Costa Rica has dense forests scattered across much of the country. In this video, we explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve with naturalist guide Francisco Castro. Along the way, we’ll learn about the various interactions among species in the cloud forest.
Strangler figs are a type of tropical tree that germinate in the canopy of other trees. As they mature, they send roots downward that eventually envelop and kill the host tree. In doing so, stranger figs may become columnar trees with a hollow core. This hollow core — formerly occupied by the host tree — becomes habitat for a range of other animals, including skunks, raccoons, porcupines, and opossums. Strangler figs can live to be 300 years old and hold over 200 species of plants.
Many of the plants living on a strangler fig are epiphytes — plants that grow on other plants. As Francisco explains, these plants use trees to reach sunlight, which tends to be scarce in cloud forests. They derive nutrients from moisture, wind, fog, and air. In fact, says Francisco, the name epiphyte means “air plant.”
This video was shot in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. This reserve is located in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica at approximately 5,000 feet (1,524 m) above sea level. The air up here is crisp and clean and the biodiversity is incredible. More than 400 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, and 1,200 species of amphibians and reptiles live here. Travelers can explore the cloud forest on one of the many trails that wind through the reserve. There are also suspension bridges and zip-lines available.
To learn more about the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, please visit the following page: http://goo.gl/MYRzHc.