In the Heart of the Costa Rican Canopy with Timothy
Spending time in the tops of some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world is Timothy’s passion, but it’s also his everyday life. Among the leaves of the mango tree, in the branches of the Guarumo tree, or face to face with an iguana, he tells us about his exciting days in Costa Rica.
November 18 2020
What is your job and what would you like to tell us about your passions or hobbies?
I’m an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist and a tree safety professional with the TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association). I live in Costa Rica and I’m passionate about exploring the highest canopies and oldest trees in the world. I also have the fortune of bringing my skills in tree care and safety to those who do not have prior training or don’t have the opportunity to receive such training.
Can you tell us about your company?
I started my own small tree care business, Tree Care, in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica. The majority of our services include sharing tree care techniques, securely and according to standards.
Tell us about one or your worksites.
What was the objective?
Cautiously remove a tree (Guarumo or Cecropia Obtusifolia) that was threatening a nearby water reservoir.
What techniques were used?
Climb the tree in order to progressively remove small sections, all while maintaining the tree’s stability with braces.
What are some important points, constraints, difficulties?
The Guarumo tree shares a symbiotic relationship with the local red ants, which poses the risk of being attacked by the ants when removing a tree. Another challenge was that the tree’s root system had been damaged by the construction of an adjacent road, causing it to lean towards the nearby water reservoir. If it had fallen, it would have severely damaged the objective.
What were some of the high points at this worksite?
We securely removed the tree, without damaging the water reservoir. Once the removal was complete, we identified that more than 50% of the root system was damaged and that it was no longer providing a sufficient anchor to support the tree.
What makes up the everyday in your profession?
I arrive at the worksite at sunrise to avoid the heat and humidity of Central America. After a complete briefing, we begin the work at height for the next 6 to 7 hours. We then devote our time mainly to the field work, in order to reduce the risk of becoming fatigued or dehydrated while working at height at the hottest time. We are constantly monitoring one another to ensure our mutual safety.
Can you tell us a funny, personal, or improbable anecdote?
Recently, I was cutting a mango tree. While I was trimming a branch above me, an iguana was dislodged from the tree and fell right next to me. It seemed like there was a long pause, each of us stared at the other, deciding how to react. He very calmly turned and jumped onto a lower branch, then onto another tree. I laughed to myself, thinking that maybe I should have put up a fight, but like nature often shows us, I just needed to relax to appreciate its beauty.