About the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy


Email: info@maderasrfc.org
Phone: (305)666-9932 (9am – 5pm EST)
Fax: (305)666-7581

The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy
P.O. Box 55-7519
Miami Fl, 33255-7519

The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy (MRC) shares the wonders of the rainforest with local and international students, researchers, and volunteers in field school and medical mission programs. The MRC is a leading nonprofit organization at the forefront of rainforest conservation, operating at both the La Suerte Biological Field Station in Northeastern Costa Rica and the Ometepe Biological Field Station on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, to address growing concerns in rainforest deforestation, the illegal pet trade, women’s empowerment, and community health. We seek to promote the conservation of biodiverse rainforests and support the communities around them through a three-part mission:

Please visit here for a complete list of field courses. Please contact info@mrc.org with questions, including inquiries for group volunteer opportunities and new course proposals.

American Society of Primatologists: Dr. Paul Garber Highlights MRC

Our Mission


Protect rainforest ecosystems. At our strategically-located field stations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, we’ve reforested deforested lands and have protected forested lands from clearing. We’ve protected wildlife in these areas from capture and hunting.


Increase awareness of conservation issues. We offer field schools where undergraduate and graduate students take classes based on the ecology of the region and community needs. These classes (including primatology, rainforest ecology, veterinary field missions, medical field missions, and many more) give students the opportunity to explore rainforests, understand unique challenges in conservation, and gain hands-on experience in ecological and medical sciences.


Maintain relationships with local communities. It is the philosophy of the MRC that the strongest allies rainforests have are local communities. Community wellness and environmental education foster greater conservation efforts for our rainforests. We work with women entrepreneurs, school children, and other community members on a variety of outreach initiatives.

Ometepe Island Field Site

La Suerte Field Site

The Ometepe Biological Station is in Isla de Ometepe. Ometepe is an island of 276 square kilometers lying in Lake Nicaragua. It is the largest Volcanic island in the world situated in a fresh water lake. Two majestic forested volcanoes dominate the island. One called Maderas raises 1,400 meters above the lake. The other, Concepción is even taller and reaches a height of nearly 1,700 meters. Ometepe is situated in southeastern Nicaragua and has a population of 30,000 people. The majority of the people who live on the island are of Indian ancestry. The word Ometepe is a Nahuatl word that means “land of 2 volcanoes” (Nashuatl is a language spoken by the ancient Aztecs and their descendants). Crater lakes, beautiful streams with cascading waterfalls, cloud forests, and lowland dry forests are found on the island.
La Suerte Biological Field Station is located in northeastern Costa Rica, Central America, longitude 83° 46’15” W, latitude 10° 26’ 30” N. Average rainfall is 3800mm (15”) at an altitude of 50 m above sea level. This lowland neotropical region remains one of the most biologically diverse in the world. The field station encompasses 1000 acres containing a wealth of habitats, including primary and secondary forests, swamps, marshes and pastures. In addition, much of the property lies along Río La Suerte, a beautiful flowing river that empties into the Caribbean at Tortuguero National Park. The area is home to thousands of plant and insect species as well as hundreds of species of amphibians, reptiles, birds (260 species; see web site for the list) and mammals. The list of animals includes three monkey species (white-face capuchins, mantled howlers and spider monkeys), pacas, Jaguars, aguotis, keel-billed toucans, white-crowned parrots, great green macaw, strawberry poison-dart frogs, eyelash vipers and green iguanas.

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Conservation Initiatives

Below are detailed descriptions of some of our current conservation initiatives. These initiatives are funded by grant support and private donations. Funds are desperately needed to ensure the success of these projects. All donations to the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy are tax deductible, as the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Thank you for your support!

Primate corridors in the forests of Volcan Maderas

Volcán Maderas is made up of a seasonally wet/dry tropical forest. Two primate species are native to the area: mantled black howler monkeys (A. palliata) and white-faced capuchin monkeys (C. capucinus). Both species traditionally act as germinators and seed dispersers in their ecosystems (Wehncke et. al. 2004). Forest fragmentation by agriculturalists in the area have cut off corridors used by both species, leaving large forested areas without either primate species. This has caused a lack of seed dispersal in the ecosystem and is having a profound effect on the other species which rely on the seed dispersers to maintain the ecosystem they have adapted to (Offerman et. al. 1995). The following project proposes to replace the fence posts, which traverse the deforested areas, with gumbo limbo trees (B. simaruba) to hold the fencing material; thus, providing the two arboreal primate species corridors through the deforested areas.

Reforestation of pasture lands in La Suerte, Costa Rica

La Suerte, Costa Rica is in a tropical rainforest basin. The area managed by the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy is one of the few surviving forest fragments in the area. The fragment itself is large enough to sustain the ecosystem within. However it has been bisected by a large pasture, making two forest fragments. The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy is working to reforest this area. Trees are being cultivated in a greenhouse at the site to plant in the pasture area. These trees are the future of one continuous La Suerte rainforest.

Community Initiatives

It is of utmost priority to the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy to work cooperatively with the local communities to both preserve the remaining forests and solve the issues brought about by forest fragmentation. For every initiative we undertake, we enlist community help. These issues are first and foremost local community issues. It is for this reason that the local community must be involved in these initiatives. Working together, we can work locally to become part of the global solution to conservation.

Local Schools

The young people of Ometepe Island are the future of conservation in the area. The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy is working to pass on what we have learned about the preservation of these forests to the local school children. College students taking field courses at the field station are enlisted to talk to the local children about the work they are doing in the forest and what they are studying. In addition to this, the conservancy donates uniforms to each student at the school.

Community Cooperation

In our conservation initiatives, the conservancy enlists the help and cooperation of the local community. For our living fence proposal, we are working with local land owners to best strategize the fencing locations which can be mutually beneficial to both the habitat and the local agriculture.

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