While delighted at the advancements that the Costa Rican Environment Ministry was achieving in the protection of the area's natural resources, privately we began to look for a way to ensure that our own property of over 600 acres would also enjoy the same level of preservation in perpetuity. Part of Costa Rica's strategy to protect its amazing wealth of biodiversity has been to institutionally support efforts of individuals. Under Costa Rican law, private landowners can join forces with the Environment Ministry to declare their land a “Private Reserve” (Reserva Privada).
We were thrilled to convert our “Finca Tres Hermanas” into a private biological reserve to border the Ballena Marine National Park and thus expand the natural corridor running along the coast. Though Finca Tres Hermanas was one of the first private reserves to be created in the area, in the last decade we have seen an encouraging increase in the spread of these private conservation initiatives accompanying the area's growth in popularity as an eco-tourism destination.
For us here at La Cusinga, any serious attempt at “sustainability” must include a calculated harvesting of the land's natural capital. Aside from the primary and secondary forests, part of our land had been previously cut down through slash-and-burn style agriculture. In the 1970's cattle-raising dominated as a business model, lucrative and easy due to the seemingly unlimited demand for red meat in hamburger-hungry North American markets. In 1977 we decided to dedicate part of the already-cleared land for a continuous and sustainable lumber production of native hardwoods and the exotic Teak.