Cutting Lowland Forests Affects Mountain Forests


The Monteverde Forest Reserve in Costa Rica is a cloud forest ecosystem. Cloud forests receive a dependable and prolonged bath in clouds as trade winds push warm, moist air inland. Cloud forests in Central America are biological hotspots; that is, they support an unusual amount of biological diversity. However, deforestation not in Monteverde Reserve itself, but in lowland forests upwind has changed the conditions for cloud formation. Conversion of the lowland forests to pasture has resulted in drier, warmer air flowing into the cloud forests. This is our first indication that land use in tropical lowlands can have adverse effects on adjacent ecosystems. We spoke with Bob Lawton about his work in the cloud forests of Costa Rica1.

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