Located on the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico, the El Yunque National Forest is the sole tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System and is one of the world’s most diverse tropical rainforests. The forest’s relatively small 28,000-acre size belies its importance. It differs significantly from all the other U.S. National Forests because of its year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity, serving as home to hundreds of plant and animal species.
Revered as a holy place for over a thousand years by the prehistoric Taino inhabitants, the El Yunque National Forest has been a continually managed reserve for well over 100 years. In September 2017, a powerful hurricane hit the island head-on and caused widespread damage. In the storm’s aftermath, not only was critical forest infrastructure destroyed, but most trees were uprooted and the whole forest’s delicate ecological balance, home to 54 critical, rare, endemic and endangered animal species, was thrown out of whack. The entire forest eco-system now must be re-balanced.
Planting of your gift tree in Puerto Rico will help to re-establish this national treasure and the environmental well-being of Puerto Rico. The El Yunque National Forest staff is working with teams of volunteers, mostly local Girl Scouts, to replant the forest which is essential to restoring the exuberant tropical vegetation required to sustain the wildlife species found in this National Forest, many of which exist nowhere else on the planet.