Alberto Manuel Brenes Bilogical Reserve

Wildlife in Premontane Forest
​Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve is located in the southeastern part of the Tilarán Mining Sierra. 99.6% of its territory lies in the canton of San Ramon (Los Angeles and Zapotal Districts) in the province of Alajuela and the remaining 0.4% in the canton of Montes de Oro (Union District) province of Puntarenas.
The reserve covers an area of 7800 hectares, it has a maximum elevation of 4986 feet above sea level (1520 m s.n.m.), it has an average temperature of 69.8 Fahrenheit (21 ° C)  and an average rainfall of 11.3 feet (3461 mm).


​This protected area was declared in 1975, by Executive Decree No. 4960-A with the management category San Ramon Forest Reserve, with the justification to conserve water and flora of the area. At Article 8 of that decree it was established that the administration of the Forest Reserve would be in charge of a team of three representatives of the Municipality of San Ramon and three representatives of the Regional University Center of the University of Costa Rica Committee and with the advice of the Forestry Department.

The Management Committee did not work as it should, since the municipality of the canton of San Ramon and the MAG had no apparent interest in the Reserve. During the early years, administrative decisions fell on the authorities of the Regional University Center of San Ramon and Don Alvaro Acosta, promoter of the creation of the Reserve who gave part of his land to the University to install a camp on the outskirts of reserve boundaries. In 1991, by Executive Decree No. 20172-MIRENEM, the category management Forest Reserve was changed to Protecting Area San Ramon.

In 1993, before the eventual mining activity in the reserve, the community of San Ramon was organized and managed, through Law No. 7354 of August 10, its category classification would be amended again, becoming, this way, to be Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological reserve. Its name is a form of recognition and tribute to Dr. Alberto Manuel Brenes Mora, botanical, outstanding researcher and a native of San Ramon; he was declared in 1970 by the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica as a Meritorious of Sciences. The Reserve is currently co-managed between Western headquarters of University of Costa Rica and the National System of Conservation Areas.

Therefore, the reserve management mechanism is a unique feature, as being shared between the University of Costa Rica - Western headquarters and the National System of Conservation Areas through Central Volcanic Range Conservation Area.

​Opening hours

For its management category, entering the reserve is very restricted. They are only allowed to entry researchers and students for educational purposes.


Current rates for Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve, are set forth in Executive Decree 38770-MINAE, "Amendment to Articles 9 and 21 of Executive Decree No. 38295-MINAE called fees for entrance fees and other services offered in protected wilderness areas under the administration of the National System of Conservation areas "published in the No. 82 Alcance Digital of December 19, 2014:

Entry and stay of residents and non-residents researchers and their duly accredited and authorized participants:
  • $5 - stay up to 3 months
  • $10 - stay up to 6 months
  • $15 - stay of up to 12 months,
Students of national or foreign universities conducting demonstration tours or other field visits of academic purpose, may enter by means of an official letter issued by the university certifying that status:
  • $5 - stay up to 1 month
  • $10 - stay up to 2 months
  • $15 - stay up to 6 months
At Westside limit is located the Rodolfo Ruíz Researching Station, it is administrated by University of Costa Rica – Western headquarters - , where there are, a laboratory, a classroom, kitchen and bathrooms, with a capacity to accommodate 40 people.
In the western sector, in the community of Cedral, SINAC-ACCVC has a Biological Reserve Control Point, where control actions, protection and environmental education are coordinated, as well as the tenure of wilderness protected area.
En el sector Oeste, en la comunidad de Cedral, el SINAC-ACCVC cuenta con un Puesto de Control de la Reserva Biológica, desde donde se coordinan las acciones de control, protección, educación ambiental, así como la tenencia de la tierra del área silvestre protegida.
Likewise, it has a place in Bajo Jamaical, with infrastructure to accommodate 12 people, recently consolidated by the Conservation Area, with the acquisition of 250 hectares of land located in the heart of the wilderness area, which facilitates control actions, conservation, environmental education and research and simultaneously the access and connectivity to other workplaces.
Flora: Many species of the families Rubiaceae and Heliconiaceae understorey stand throughout the year for its showy flowering. They draw attention the three strata present at the site, which highlight dosel (canopy) species reaching heights of 114-147 feet (35-45 m), including Elaegia uxpanamensis and Ocotea Morae; as well as the palmito (Iriartea deltoid) and several species of fig trees (Ficus spp.). In the reserve it has been collected a large number of endemic species.
The forests of the Alberto Manuel Brenes Biological Reserve have high biological diversity; there have been cataloged more than 50 species as endemic, so far, to Costa Rica. They have been also collected at least 15 plant species that are new records for science, as is the case of Ticodendron incognitum giving rise to the Ticodendraceae family, discovered in 1989 by renowned botanist Jorge Gómez Laurito, a researcher at the University from Costa Rica.
Fauna: Among the large mammals, the reserve provides habitat to jaguar (Panthera onca), tapir (Tapirus bairdii), puma (Puma concolor) and red brocket (Mazama americana). Among the medium-sized mammals three species of monkeys stand out:  Mono colorado (Ateles geoffroyi), howler (Alouatta palliata) and white-faced (Cebus capucinus) stand out; as well as manigordos, pizotes, raccoons, tepezcuintles and guatusas.
Among small mammals it has been registered the presence of tolomuco (Eira barbara), opossum (zorro pelón, Didelphys marsupialis), weasel (Mustela frenata) and several species of squirrels, rats and wild mice. It is estimated that there are about 50 genera and 75 species in the group of bats, where stand the (Platyrhinus vitatus) and white bat (Ectophylla alba).
The group of birds is very diverse. Among the most striking species are the quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), the umbrella bird (Cephalopterus glabricollis), the bell bird (Procnias tricarunculata), the white hawk (Pseudastur albicollis) and the goldfinch (Myadestes melanops); as well as several species of trogon, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, kettles and kingfishers, among others.
The herpetofaunal is represented by at least 30 species of amphibians and 36 species of reptiles such as snakes and lizards. Among the snakes the velvet (Bothrops asper), the stone hand (Atropides nummifer), olive ridley (Bothriechis lateralis), the coral (Micrurus nigrocinctus) and bocaracá (Botrhiechis schlegelii). Among non-poisonous snakes they have registered the boa (Boa constrictor), the zopilota (Clelia clelia) and false coral, among others.
  • ​Before making any scientific activity, the researcher must meet all the requirements and procedures established in existing legislation in the National System of Conservation Areas, for these cases.
  • Permits access to genetic and biochemical elements and resources of biodiversity are governed by the provisions of the Biodiversity Law No. 7788 and its regulations; so that every researcher should carry out the relevant procedures available to the legal system for this type of research.
  • Introduction of exotic species in the reserve is not allowed.