The Ralmar Ecoforestry Corporation began work in Costa Rica in 1996. Land was found and a purchase deal closed that would allow the corporation to carry out the establishment and maintenance of a timber plantation according to its stated goals and principles.
The land is an old farm of approximately 77 hectares (190 acres), mostly old, degraded cattle pasture, located in Santa Marta de Volcán in the Southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica (see maps). The farm is bordered on two sides by rivers, by a public road on one side, and by a neighboring farm on the other. It contains one small, run‑down house and several sheds. The corporation agreed to buy the land for a total of $49,185.65 which was paid over a period of three years. The last payment was made in 1998 and the corporation is now the sole owner of the land.
This farm also came with an added bonus: about five hectares (12 acres) that had been planted with a variety of native species in 1993 and 1994 by the previous owners.
Since the project was initiated four years ago, the corporation has established itself in Costa Rica, become the owner of the above-mentioned farm (aka Veluna Acres) and began and continues plantation establishment and maintenance operations. More than 40,000 trees of 15 different species (most produced in its’ own nursery with the remainder collected from the surrounding countryside) have been planted and are being cared for on 42 hectares (103 acres) of the farm in addition to the five hectares that had been previously planted. Planting of the current farm owned by the corporation should be completed in 2005.
All operations are planned and managed by the corporation's forester (Plantation Manager). The corporation also employs a full‑time Field Supervisor who assures that the daily work is completed according to plan, takes part in the manual labor and generally watches over the plantation. Part‑time laborers are hired on an as‑needed basis to carry out the necessary manual labor.
Currently the major activity on the plantation is the maintainence of the planted stands, which, for the most part, means cleaning with machetes and removal of unwanted vegetation; some pruning and thinning of trees is also done. Less than a hectare of land is left to be planted and that, plus any replanting necessary, should be completed in 2005.