“There may be no better place in all of Central America to study tropical ecology than the Piro Research Center. The Osa Peninsula contains a nearly intact fauna, including jaguars, tapirs, white-lipped peccaries, curassows, macaws, and other sensitive species. The diversity of wildlife is astonishing. Moreover, the Center provides first rate facilities and a fine trail network for investigating forests of all ages, coastal ecosystems, and a variety of agricultural lands. I recommend it enthusiastically.”
– Dr. David Wilcove, Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University
We offer comfortable accommodations and competitive rates for short and long-term fieldwork at Piro Biological Station and the Greg Gund Conservation Center.
Our field stations are located on the Pacific side of the peninsula in an important biological corridor extending southeast from Corcovado National Park towards Cabo Matapalo (the tip of the peninsula). Osa Conservation’s core 1,700 hectare (4,200 acre) property contains a mosaic of primary and secondary forest, a range of soil types, freshwater streams and riparian areas. Our properties cover an elevation gradient extending from the beach to 300 meters (984 ft) above sea level. Our properties also contain 171 hectares (425 acres) of abandoned pochote (Bombacopsis quinatum) and teak (Tectona grandis) plantations that are gradually being reforested with native species, offering an excellent opportunity for forest restoration research.
The Piro River watershed connects with a diverse coastal zone that provides nesting habitat for several sea turtle species and includes lagoons, estuaries and mangrove forests. The nearby tropical fjord, the Golfo Dulce, is home to important populations of fish and marine mammals, including two resident dolphin species–Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata)–and Humpback whales (Megaptera novaengiae) from both the northern and southern hemispheres.
Our additional day-use properties offer access to distinct ecosystems. Cerro Arbolito, a small outpost west of the Greg Gund Conservation Center (and accessible only by foot or horse), sits on sandy marine soils particular to this area of the Peninsula. On the east side of the Golfo Dulce, our 1,400 acre Lomas del Sierpe reserve along the Esquinas River includes lowland forest and mangrove habitat as well as abandoned pastures and tree plantations.
Our properties are embedded within a broad network of diverse land uses–active and abandoned cattle pastures, small-scale timber plantations and reforestation plots, subsistence farms, ecotourism lodges and private vacation home development. We are happy to assist researchers who wish to conduct projects across a range of ecosystems or land uses.
Why Conduct Fieldwork At Osa Conservation’s Piro Research Station?
- Access to more than 5,800 acres of diverse rainforest habitat
- Easy access to both primary and secondary rainforest across a range of soil types, riparian areas, wetlands, and estuaries
- Short walk to pristine beaches, tidepools, sandy and rocky beach habitats
- Healthy populations of all major Mesoamerican rainforest faunal taxa, including large mammals such as jaguars, tapirs and peccaries
- High densities of primates
- Pleasant climate with few biting insects!
- Well-marked on-site trail system
- Opportunities to establish long-term research plots
- Internet access and intermittent power (we rely on solar and microhydro renewable energy systems)
- Comfortable facilities and healthy Costa Rican meals
- Accessible town with tourist amenities, located one hour by public transport or private vehicle