Rafael Gallo Forest

Forest planted in honor of Rafael Gallo

Reforestation project adds close to 1,000 trees to expand Pacuare River conservation

A forest of nearly 1,000 trees has been planted in Rafael “Rafa” Gallo’s name to commemorate his conservation work for over 35 years to restore the rainforest in Costa Rica’s Pacuare River Valley.

Seventy-five volunteers gathered on October 9, 2021, at the Gallo-Jimenez Family Private Reserve by the community of El Tigre in the Pacuare River Valley to plant the Rafael Gallo Forest (“Bosque Rafael Gallo”). The event marks the first conservation project of the Rivers and Forests Alliance (RAFA) in the Pacuare river basin. See the full photo gallery on the Rivers and Forests Alliance Facebook page.

Rafael Gallo Forest
Roberto Gallo, RAFA co-director, carries trees to be planted in his father’s memorial forest. Photo by Regina Nicolardi.

“We are keeping my father’s legacy alive and planting that seed in everyone’s heart to continue making conservation a priority. It was amazing we had so many people come to help us plant trees, close friends and family who understood the significance of this event,” said RAFA co-director Roberto Gallo, son of Rafa Gallo.

“We are thrilled that planting the Rafael Gallo Forest carries forward Rafa’s conservation in the Pacuare region. And we hope a spark of inspiration will carry out across the world for others to do the same for our planet,” commented RAFA co-director Shannon Farley.

EARTH University, the Compania Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL – National Power Company), and local butterfly garden and tree nursery Mariposas del Pacuare supplied the 972 native species trees that now reforest a 1.5 hectare (3.7 acres) section of former pastureland. Rafa’s friends and family generously gave private donations to purchase the trees. We also thank our other sponsors, the Costa Rica National Alliance of Rivers and Watersheds, Tropical Rivers and Adventure Tours, and the Cruz Roja Costarricense (Costa Rican Red Cross) that helped make the event happen.

Rafael Gallo Forest
On Oct. 9, 2021, 75 volunteers planted 972 trees to honor Rafael Gallo’s conservation legacy. Photo by Regina Nicolardi.

The day October 9 marked the special occasion of Rafa Gallo’s birthday on October 6 and the six-month anniversary of his passing (March 23).

“It was a special day because it was his birthday weekend. That’s what he loved – to have over-the-top events with lots of friends and family. Hopefully, we can keep doing this every year,” noted Roberto Gallo.

The 22 varied species of trees were specifically chosen for the forest because they are native to the region to ensure harmony with the local ecosystem. “We wanted to be sure to have a variety of trees to create a healthy living forest,” said Gallo.

The main species planted – with 171 trees – is the mountain almond, a previously endangered species that provides important habitat for the also endangered Great Green Macaws. Over the years, Rafa Gallo planted a large number of mountain almond trees in his family’s private reserve to successfully return the population of Great Green Macaws to the Pacuare region. Other principal tree species planted include the tropical hardwoods Pilón (151 trees) and Roble Coral (124 trees).

The trees in the Rafael Gallo Forest will be cared for by the dedicated staff of the Gallo-Jimenez Family Private Reserve.

Rafael Gallo Forest
A forest waiting to be planted to continue Rafa Gallo’s conservation work by the Pacuare River. Photo by Regina Nicolardi.

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