Eradicating El Helecho and Restoring a Jungle

Certain areas of our property were chopped around 50 years ago, and the jungle never restored itself.  What grew is this invasive fern - helecho - Pteridium Arachnoideum.  This fern doesn't let anything take root.  It covers the soil and grows into the trees.  So it drowns the surrounding forest.

Our caretakers have been clearing the fern.  For months now.  

It is hard, hot, laborious work.  They're doing it by hand with machetes.  But slowly we are eradicating the fern.  Much of the buildable parts of our property look bald now, like the area in the foreground of this picture.

But last September, to replace the ferns, we started planting - native hardwoods, fruit trees - anything we could get our hands on -  to eliminate the danger of erosion and to attract the animals.  

And this rainy season we have started planting again.

We've already planted about 500 trees - guayaba, manzana de agua, guaypinol, zoto caballo, mamon, almendro for the parrots and macaws, mango, banana, cecropia, different types of palms...we think that by the time we are finished we will plant 1500 trees.

We also hope to restore the jungle floor, with the seedlings of broadleaf plants that are in abundance on our property.  

It is a huge effort, but a gratifying one.

A huge shout out to ICE, Costa Rica's electric company.  They give away native hardwood trees to anyone who asks.  Their goal is to plant over 1,000,000 trees across the country.  They have given us about 200 native hardwoods which we planted last rainy season.   We will try to get more for this season.