Binational Reforestation Day in the Sixaola River Basin

19 June 2013 | News story

In honor of World Environment Day and the International Year of Water Cooperation, communities of Costa Rica and Panama joined forces to reforest along the banks of the Sixaola River

June 5, 2013. Spurred by the enthusiasm of primary and secondary school students and teachers, joined by local organizations, producers and residents of Las Tablas (Panama) and Paraíso (Costa Rica), 255 participants aged nine to sixty five demonstrated that neighboring countries can come together for the environment, regardless of national borders.

To tackle high vulnerability and flooding in the lower basin of the Sixaola River (shared by the two nations), 2000 saplings were planted to protect soil from extreme weather events. The species “Sotacaballo” (Zygia longifolia) and “Almendro” (Dipteryx panamensis) were chosen for their importance as natural solution in adaptation to climate change.

The Sotacaballo’s root system enables the tree to take hold along river banks, helping to prevent soil erosion and resist strong currents of water. The Almendro can grow 1.6 m in diameter, with an extraordinary hardiness allowing it to withstand swollen rivers more easily.

Government authorities participating in the reforestation day included Ibelice Añino, Director of Protected Areas and Wildlife at Panama’s National Environmental Authority (ANAM for its name in Spanish); and from Costa Rica, Edwin Cyurs, representative of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Seas (MINAE) and Regional Director of the Amistad Conservation Area (ACLAC), regional and local ANAM and MINAE officers, representatives of the municipalities of Talamanca (Costa Rica) and Changuinola (Panama), along with members of the Costa Rican Red Cross, the Peace Corps, the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor Association, Quebrada Rosa Microwatershed Council and the IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Initiative (IUCN-ORMA). Champions Mitzela Dávila, Juanita Baltodano and Pablo Rayo, of the IUCN-ORMA BRIDGE Project, contributed their valuable participation, along with Alfonso Sanabria of the Binational Project.

This activity was organized in coordination with the Talamanca-Caribbean Biological Corridor Association and the Sixaola Binational Project in the frame of the Water Management for Climate Change Adaptation in Mesoamerica project, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; and BRIDGE: Building River Dialogue and Governance, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Conservation.

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