Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) today announced that the Company completed an animal monitoring study carried out at El Bosque, a Dole pineapple farm in Costa Rica, together with scientists working with FUNDECOR, a Non-Governmental organization active in protecting the natural resources of the Costa Rican central mountains. The study reveals not only that wildlife has been preserved, compared to a baseline survey carried out in 2005, but also that several vulnerable species are being effectively protected in the forest flanking the farm.
El Bosque is a Dole-owned pineapple plantation located in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. The farm covers a surface of 1,400 hectares, 850 hectares are dedicated to pineapple production and the rest is mostly protected forests.
The study was performed in July 2010 and focused on the use of infrared cameras to gauge the presence of fauna on the forest-floor of the 80-hectare reserve at El Bosque. A total of 11 mammal species from 11 different genus, 9 families and 5 orders were registered by the cameras.
“This exploratory study revealed the presence of species that are highly vulnerable to fragmentation, habitat destruction and hunting, such as the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and the Paca (Cuniculus paca), a forest-dwelling herbivore. This is evidence that the surveillance and conservation practices implemented by Dole are effectively protecting the forest”, stated German Obando, Director of Research and Technology at FUNDECOR.
“As the survey confirmed, the forest at our El Bosque farm is fundamental to maintaining and increasing several mammalian populations. The results illustrate that despite frequent misconceptions about high-yield plantation agriculture, our Dole production practices make it possible to co-exist with nature and produce in a truly sustainable way and in harmony with nature”, said Richard Toman, Vice President Pineapple Operations for Dole Latin America. Mr. Toman went on to add, “we are also pleased to announce that we have commissioned two similar studies at our Zurqui banana plantation in Sarapiqui and our Muelle & Ecopinas pineapple farms in San Carlos.”
The survey was commissioned during World Environment Day last June and was part of a broader set of initiatives organized by Dole at banana and pineapple operations, not only in Costa Rica but also in Honduras, Ecuador and Peru. These other initiatives included the planting of 30,000 trees with community, schools, workers and their children, the conduction of environmental awareness seminars for the children, the collection of trash alongside rivers and roads, the presentation of recycling programs by women leaders and the installation of bird feeders for hummingbirds and others.
ABOUT DOLE FOOD COMPANY
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas and producer/shipper of organic pineapples. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
Founded in 1991, Fundecor is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to protect the natural resources of the Costa Rican central mountains by using market-based strategies and cutting edge research and development for the creation and improvement of public policy under the principle that conservation and development should coexist in harmony.
In the U.S. Contact:
Marty Ordman, 818-874-4834
In Europe Contact:
Marie-Noelle Fixler, +33-1-44-17-30-60