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Reforestation & Lodging in Venao Panama
The Eco Venao Reforestation Project sits in a 140 hectare (346 acre) farm.

One of our most optimistic goals is to establish a diverse natural forest cover within a financially viable framework. We hope to recoup some of our costs by harvesting exotic species, leaving a beautiful native forest. If we can prove this works, then we believe we can convince our neighbors to give it a go.

We are lucky enough to have a 17 hectare piece of secondary forest within Eco Venao – a 30 minute horse ride from the lodge. We always enjoy taking visitors to see this magical place.

A brief History

As little as 60 years ago, the region was heavily forested to make way for pastureland. Only around 5% of the native dry tropical forest survived. As dry tropical forests are now the rarest of the major tropical ecosystems we are very dedicated to restoring this invaluable habitat.

In just 13 years the Eco Venao Project has reforested over 30 hectares of land and we are still going strong. To date we have successfully planted over 25,000 trees. That on top of the impressive natural regeneration that is happening too, things are looking quite a bit greener than when we started!

The Eco Venao project was first assisted by PRORENA, a research, education and outreach program led by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Yale School of Forestry. We have since supported many environmental research and education initiatives in the area.

As our plantations have grown there has been a notable increase in forest wildlife. Monkeys appear to be thriving and the blue morph butterfly is back. Today our thirteen-year-old plantation looks like an established forest and can be seen from the beach and far beyond.

How we plant

We have incorporated radical experiments and trials in our reforestation effort to help find ways to restore the native ecosystem quickly and affordably. Such experiments include: intensive tight-grouped plantings, wider spaced plantings, differing clearing and pruning schedules, seed dispersal and variations of species mixes.

Reforestation in this part of the world is not without its challenges. The extreme climate, with its extended dry season followed by heavy rains makes successful reforestation problematic. So we have focused on areas where we can buffer existing forest ecosystems and have chosen species that provide food and shelter for native animals and birds.

See our latest news page for any updates on the reforestation project.