Las Casas de la Selva

Patillas, Puerto Rico

Las Casas de la Selva is a sustainable forestry & rainforest enrichment project managed by Tropic Ventures and Tropic Ventures Educational & Research Foundation. This area provides a protected habitat for Puerto Rican native flora and fauna– serving as a long-term study site for research and a platform for civic engagement in the areas of ecology, botany, forestry, horticulture, soil, ethnobotany and other related environmental disciplines.

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Project Overview

Established in 1983, Las Casas de la Selva is the home of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry & Rainforest Enrichment Project. It is located in the southern mountains adjacent to the Carite State Forest, in the municipality of Patillas, on the island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.

The aim of the project is to research and demonstrate the economic use of rainforest land using methods that do not destroy the rainforest ecology. Members of The Institute of Ecotechnics initiated this unique project pioneering experiments in sustainable rainforest ecology, through line-planting of valuable timber trees. Nearly 300 acres of the 1000-acre property have been planted with over 40,000 native and exotic hardwood trees with extremely promising results. Since 2003, plantation areas have been experimentally thinned, timber sold, and scientific research carried out all over the land.

700 acres remains as a wilderness preserve for watershed protection, research, and educational ecotourism. The project is certified as a Stewardship Forest and has an approved ‘Sustainable Forestry Stewardship Management Plan’, and registered as an Auxiliary Forest.

‘Ready, willing and able’ apprentices from all over the world have worked and lived here. Our motto is “learning by doing”. Tropic Ventures Research & Education Foundation was incorporated in 1998 as a non-profit in Puerto Rico to support the project’s research and education activities. The Earthwatch Institute has been a key collaborator in assisting in the scientific mission.

On how to get involved, please contact President of Tropic Ventures, Thrity Vakil, here.

Objectives 

  • Create a sustainable forestry project that demonstrates humanities ability to co-exist and co-evolve in the rainforest biome. 
  • Create and maintain an Ecotechnic site, on which a project suitable to developing potentiality is operating.
  • Create an environment conducive to participation and contemplation to understand the true history of humanity, and our home, the Biosphere.
  • Create a site that attracts authentics encounters (in study, science, business, arts, travel), and contact with historical, contemporary, and future life.
  • Create a site where reciprocal maintenance with all existence is practiced. 
Photo of Damaged Wood Drying Shed

Las Casas de La Selva, Puerto Rico - New Wood Shed Campaign

Our wood drying shed was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. We need to build a new one in order to continue our own forestry work as well as salvaging trees that fell in the hurricane. 

Videos and Photo Gallery

Video credit Raymesh Cintron and VisitRico.

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