STRI operates a mountain forest research station in the highlands of the Chiriqui Province, in western Panama. The Fortuna station offers simple laboratory and living facilities and excellent access to a vast and largely unspoiled wilderness.
The Fortuna station was begun in the mid 1970’s in response to a call for greater knowledge and understanding about the possible impact of the building of the Edwin Fabrega Dam across the upper Chiriqui River and the construction of an oil pipeline and highway from the Pacific coast, across the Fortuna catchment, and down to its terminal in Chiriqui Grande on the Caribbean coast.
The 19,500 hectares of forested land located principally above the dam have been given the status of a Hydrological Reserve by the National Authority for the Environment (ANAM) and are administered jointly by ANAM and ENEL Fortuna, S.A (http://www.fortuna.com.pa/).
STRI administers one building, "Centro de Investigaciones Jorge L. Arauz", and coordinates closely with ENEL Fortuna for additional living and research space in two buildings recently refurbished by the company explicitly for investigators, which are located at “Centro para la Investigacion y Conservacion de la Biodiversidad Tropical "Reserva Forestal de Fortuna" a site approximately 2km to the north of the “Centro de Investigaciones Jorge L. Arauz”. The three buildings can support between 15 – 20 visitors. Each of the Fortuna station buildings includes bedrooms (furnished with beds, mattresses and sheets), bathrooms, living rooms and a fully equipped kitchen with gas stove and refrigerator. 110 V AC electrical outlets are available. A moderate amount of roofed outdoor working space (the parking space) is currently accessible next to each of the houses. Additional undeveloped outdoor space can be found and outdoor multiuse growing facilities are in the preliminary planning stage.
Web Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of the Fortuna Forest Reserve
You can also visit this online guide compiled by Arturo Morris, Jim Dalling and Kelly Andersen.