Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Post Reply
User avatar
Bart Bouricius
Posts: 562
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:41 am

Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Post by Bart Bouricius » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:47 pm

Though the title name is changed a little, this is the second installment of the previous Costa Rican Trees & Natural History. It includes a second part of a ravine on the pacific slope and ends with a nice Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) too bad we don't have italics here. I'll plunge right in. The tree below is the first of a few substantial Wild Cashews we encountered on this hike:
Wild Cashew (Anacardium excelsum) on my left 141' tall by 17.1' circumference
Wild Cashew (Anacardium excelsum) on my left 141' tall by 17.1' circumference
Below is one of the several waterfalls that Bob Lucas and I encountered in this section of the ravine.
12' waterfall
12' waterfall
This next image shows another impressive fat but not too tall Wild cashew:
(Anacardium excelsum) 117' tall by 23' circumference
(Anacardium excelsum) 117' tall by 23' circumference
Now for something really impressive:
Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) 151.5' tall by 33',4" circ.
Kapok (Ceiba pentandra) 151.5' tall by 33',4" circ.
This Kapok tree was in a depression at the edge of a coffee farm in Camino barrio San Jose Norte about a 30 minute drive from the Cashew Ravine. The forrester who showed this tree to me plans to take me to a national park where he knows of Kapoks in a primary (old growth) forest that are "at least 30 meters taller" and "much wider" in my next trip to Costa Rica. He got this one right, so I am cautiously optimistic. By the way, in case you are wondering, for the actual measurement Alphonso did have the tape higher than what you see in the posed picture where it is not level. The spread in one direction was 127'. This was not necessarily the longest spread we could have obtained in a different direction and these trees often have a crown spread as great or greater than the height.
Alphonso measuring the Kapok at 33',4" circumference
Alphonso measuring the Kapok at 33',4" circumference

The next images are of animals and plants related to or living in trees and a couple more interesting trees from the ravine. The first image is of an Acacia tree a little up hill from the ravine. These small trees provide the ants with both food and a space for shelter which in turn protect the tree from insects and competing plants. Just recently a species of spider living in these trees was discovered to have a primarily vegetarian diet, as it has evolved to eat the highly nutritious protein-lipid Beltian bodies which the tree produces on its leaf tips to help attract the ants.
ants live in hollow thorns of a Bull Thorn Acacia Tree (Acacia cornigera)
ants live in hollow thorns of a Bull Thorn Acacia Tree (Acacia cornigera)
Next are two more ravine Trees:
Bob sitting in front of an unidentified fig?
Bob sitting in front of an unidentified fig?
Wild roots on unidentified tree
Wild roots on unidentified tree
The ravine:
ravine stream
ravine stream
two images from a tree climb up slope from the ravine:
canopy view of epiphytes: cactus, bromeliads,orchids among others
canopy view of epiphytes: cactus, bromeliads,orchids among others
canopy dwelling ants in the Cephalotes genus
canopy dwelling ants in the Cephalotes genus
These ants are noted for using their peculiarly flattened heads for defensively blocking the entrance to their colony and for being able to control their glide back to the tree if they fall off or are dropped off by a scientist studying this behavior.

below a last image of a part of the ravine we have yet to hike. Bob and I are thinking about camping for a couple of days in the ravine in this area since there are no roads there and we could get further in that way.
up hill view of ravine as it turns left into older forest
up hill view of ravine as it turns left into older forest
.

User avatar
Will Blozan
Posts: 1153
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:13 pm

Re: Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Post by Will Blozan » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:33 pm

Bart,

Superb! OMG- that kapok is AWESOME! You can do italics- just highlight and click the "i" icon upper left.

Keep it up!

Will

User avatar
pdbrandt
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:51 pm

Re: Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Post by pdbrandt » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:34 pm

Bart,

Thank you for the exciting and educational post! That Kapok is amazing. How old do you suppose it is? I have been to Puerto Rico and lived in Honduras for a couple of years, and in neither place have I ever heard of such tall trees. Is it that Costa Rica didn't have the rampant deforestation that other Latin American countries did, or is there something unique about Costa Rica's climate and topography that allows the trees to grow so tall?
Patrick

User avatar
Bart Bouricius
Posts: 562
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:41 am

Re: Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Post by Bart Bouricius » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:52 pm

Thanks Will,

That should spiff up my posts a bit. I had given up when my italics Latin names were changed when I pasted them in. I hope to get larger Kapoks in Peru this July, and in Costa Rica when it is feasible to go back.

User avatar
Bart Bouricius
Posts: 562
Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:41 am

Re: Costa Rica Tree Measurment & Natural history #2

Post by Bart Bouricius » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:11 pm

Thanks Patrick,

If you search, Honduras does have comparable trees, but Puerto Rico keeps getting hit by hurricanes, and that has quite an impact on tall trees even in the ravines. Regarding deforestation, actually Costa Rica was deforested faster than any other Latin American Country until the mid 1990's read Breakfast of Biodiversity: the political ecology of rain forest destruction by John H. Vandermeer, Ivette Perfecto. Anyway, in more recent years Costa Ricans have done quite well preserving what they have left which is quite substantial, though there are continuing battles to prevent illegal logging in some of the parks and mining of riverbeds for road building materials. What you see in my images is not old growth forests but trees that were spared because it was more trouble to pull them up from the steep ravines than the wood of the Wild Cashew is worth. Still, the people realize how important the environment is to their tourist based economy, and this helps a lot.

Post Reply

Return to “Central America”