Tracking Costa Rica’s Mammals

Wildlife & Ecosystems

Tracking Costa Rica’s Mammals

Can farmers help revive Costa Rica’s forests? Elusive wild mammals hold clues.

Previously Funded Expedition

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The facts

Why the research is important

Why the research is important

All forests deliver crucial ecosystem services—they filter our water, store carbon, and provide beautiful places to for us to work and play.

This research can improve life for both farmers and forest mammals in Costa Rica.

You'll help researchers evaluate Costa Rica’s Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) program, which means your work can have a direct impact on Costa Rican farmers and the natural world. But what exactly are these “ecosystem services” that the government pays landowners to protect? Healthy forests give us clean water and support diverse forms of life (that’s the part you’re assessing). They’re also beautiful, which especially matters in a country where many depend on tourism for income. These ecosystem services have both local and global importance: for example, many Costa Ricans rely on clean streams for drinking water, while Costa Rica’s forests help regulate the planet’s climate by keeping carbon out of the atmosphere.

An Earthwatcher checks a trap for small mammals

An Earthwatcher checks a trap for small mammals.

These researchers also want to know how PES works for farmers. They know farmers benefit from the extra income they can get from participating. Through interviews, you’ll help tease out other benefits: education on how to manage land sustainably, the sharing of that knowledge with friends and neighbors, and a sense of connection to and pride in Costa Rica’s natural heritage.

You’ll encounter an array of different ways to manage land; some work better than others to preserve the health of the natural world. This is your chance to help figure out what works and what doesn’t, and to shape these practices for the good all of us.

About the research area

San Isidro, Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica, Central America & The Caribbean

Daily life in the field


This is a summary:



The Scientists


Ph.D. Candidate, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department, Texas A&M University

ABOUT Margot Wood

As an Earthwatch scientist, Margot Wood studies ways to balance agriculture with biodiversity.



Accommodations and Food

Accommodations and Food


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