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La Selva’s Canopy Towers Going Back Up, Taller and Stronger

In 2015, two Canopy towers at La Selva Research Station, were destroyed by a falling tree. Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the famous Canopy Towers are being reassembled and improved. By the time you read this, Tower 1 will have been assembled and placed permanently into the forest. It will be 55 meters tall (`180 feet) and matches some of the tallest canopy trees in our forest.

Reassembling the towers has been hard work. Each square section is folded flat and carried to the site on the shoulders of our workers, and boy, are they heavy (yes, Station Director, Carlos de la Rosa, tried one). Once on site, the square is unfolded, the braces put in place, and the assembled section is lifted with a manual crane to the top of the structure to be secured. One level at a time, the tower grows. Anchor cables with breakaway bolts (in case of heavy falling branches over the anchors) hold the structure at intervals. In a few days, the tower is thus completed and new equipment installed. We will repeat the process for Tower 2.’

One question people have asked us is the bridge that was located at 25 meters (82 feet). If you remember, this bridge was the reason two towers fell instead of only one. We decided to put up the bridge as needed by researchers. We can assemble and install the bridge for a project in a very short time. However, when not needed the bridge will be stored.  Any future tree fall, if it impacts one of our towers, will not affect the whole canopy system.

Last Updated ( 07/12/17 )
Organization for Tropical Studies
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