I spend a day visiting the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, one of the two most iconic tropical forest research stations (the other being BCI in Panama). It is a two hour drive from San Jose over a magnificent volcanic range. The station is incredibly well set up, with a large canteen and magnificent laboratory facilities and a library.
We take a guided work that spots a wonderful variety of birds, as well as harlequin beetles, green and helmeted iguanas, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and a swarm of collared peccaries. I am keen to strike out deep into the old growth forest, but unfortunately our visit there is frustratingly brief. There are some magnificent tall trees there though.
The reserve is a peninsula in a sea of deforested land (some of it now regrowing). Having seen the forest I have a more intuitive sense of the place when I read about it in scientific papers.
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University