Jaguars, Roads and Volcanos

Daniela Araya-Gamboa, Panthera, Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
Roberto Salom-Pérez, Panthera, Turrialba, Cartago, Costa Rica
Esther Pomareda-García, Vías Amigables con la Vida Silvestre, Cañas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Mónica Chávez-Ramos, Panthera, Santo Domingo, Heredia, Costa Rica
Deiver Espinoza-Muñoz, Panthera, Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Topic Area
Terrestrial Wildlife and Ecosystem Interactions with Transportation

A plan was developed to improve the structural connectivity of forest ecosystems in the geothermic fields of Borinquen and Las Pailas in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. These geothermal fields are developed in the Jaguar Conservation Unit called "Cordillera Guanacaste" identified in the Jaguar Corridor Initiative. The creation, improvement and increase of traffic on the internal roads of geothermal fields has not been identified as a potential impact for the connectivity of biodiversity. Therefore, we include in the disturbance area calculation for the geothermal fields the potential impact of roads related to the increase of traffic during the construction and operational phase of the Borinquen Geothermal field. We identify areas of structural connectivity where it is necessary to implement measures for wildlife safe crossings on the roads for both fields. For Las Pailas field, in its operation phase, the effectiveness of the underpass and arboreal crossing structures implemented were determined. Some important results were: an increase in the disturbance area calculated for the geothermal fields when the impacts (roadkills-noise-dust-rupture of connectivity) associated with roads was included. The impact on wildlife by the increase in traffic on roads outside the fields was associated with the geothermal fields at the construction stage. Several important areas of connectivity still lack of measures for the safe crossing for wildlife in the internal and external roads. The measures for wildlife on the roads already implemented, are giving safe passage to most of the mammal species, a Jaguar (Panthera onca) was detected using the underpass. The spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) was not detected using the arboreal crossings. It is also recommended the implementation of the Environmental Guide: Wildlife Friendly Roads for the development of measures for wildlife at a road that would connect the two fields (through an area of importance for biological connectivity) and which would receive an increase in traffic. This plan should be implemented in other private projects that involve construction, expansion, improvements or increase of traffic, in order to identify potential impacts and reduce them through variations in the design and the implementation of measures for wildlife.