The recent felling of a Pochote tree caused indignation among Nosarans, many of whom expressed their anger on the Facebook page Nosara Rant and Rave, as they considered the tree to be important to the community and local wildlife.
However, through an evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE – Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia), it was determined that the tree represented a threat to the restaurant Dee’s Nosara CR (previously known as Restaurante Dos Pochotes).
Mariano Quesada, the forestry engineer from the MINAE office in Nicoya who was in charge of the inspection, explained that during the visit it was determined that “the tree was leaning almost at ground level; the exposure of roots and the soil’s saturation are elements that have an effect and put [the building] at risk.” In addition, Quesada added, “What can’t be predicted is when it is going to fall.”
For that reason, and because the request fulfilled all of the law’s requirements, on November 12 MINAE authorized a permit for the tree to be cut. The felling happened on Thursday, December 4, occurring within the legally-mandated 60 working days.
Some residents had doubts about the validity of the permit because it was only for one tree, and they believe that in reality there were two trees cut.
Regarding the number of trees cut, Quesada explained that, “In reality it was only one and a branch that was next to it that had grown, but in reality it was part of the same [tree],” he said.
However, some residents were unconvinced by the explanation. Bobby Johnson commented that, “They were different trees and neither of the two was dangerous; there was no risk.”
Photo by Paula White.
In the same way, Paula White, a Nosara resident, said that the cracks in the concrete around the tree were not big and had been there for many years. She said that the real reason for the cutting was that the owner of the restaurant didn’t want them and that it was to open space for the restaurant’s expansion.
On the Rant and Rave Facebook page, just one week after news of the tree cutting, there were 109 comments regarding the incident, with the majority opposed.
Some users offered possible solutions. For example, Andres Anglada said that people can help with the existing reforestation plan in Playa Guioines, called “Barriguiones.” Thierry Von der Weid proposed creating a list of existing trees that the community wishes to keep, so the owners of the properties where the trees are located know it and in that way can build around them and not cut them down.
The Voice of Guanacaste attempted to corroborate the story of Diep Hoang, who is listed as the property’s legal representative. However, it was impossible to locate her by phone or to speak with a representative of the establishment.