Planting a teak farm is primarily an economic investment. For CostaTierra this means being always in harmony with nature and neighbors. Costa Rica is the country in Latin America that treats forest protection most seriously. Naturally ocurring forests are under the strictest protection. As a result, 52% of the country's area being covered by forest. This protection of primary and secondary forests is shared by CostaTierra without compromise.
The plots acquired by us for reforestation are all former cattle farms. Their clear areas are replanted, while the forest tracts remain untouched. Our projects comprise almost 50% primary forest areas, interspersed with areas planted with teak. We do not practice monocultivation of teak, but rather Fincas, which protect the biodiversity of Guanacaste. By choosing the right spots for the cultivation of teak, CostaTierra reduces the use of artificial fertilizers which would otherwise be necessary in high quantities to compensate for lack of minerals and stimulate growth. Due to teak's relative invulnerability to prevalent plant pests and diseases, artificial protection products are applied during the trees' growth period only on exceptional ocassions, and only in limited quantities.
The areas acquired by CostaTierra for reforestation are abandoned cattle farms whose owners are not profiting from this activity any more, or fields that have been left fallow. Under no circumstance are small farmers evicted from their plots, or forbidden to carry on their subsistence farming. On the contrary, we encourage our workers and neighbors to plant beans, corn and vegetables among the young teak trees. We also allow some free ranging cattle to graze among the older trees. Both measures prove advantageous to our trees, as they keep the growth of weeds in check.
Work in our farms is almost exclusively done by inhabitants of nearby areas. Thus we offer not only above-average and dependable salaries, but we also give our workers microcredits for home construction, university spending, or in emergencies. We support the communities in which our farms are located, mostly through cash or donations in kind to school projects.