Costa Rica
Central America
Puntarenas Province
living fences

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Photo replaced on August 21, 2016
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Living Fences from a Speeding Bus – Near Quepos, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Living Fences from a Speeding Bus – Near Quepos, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Along the curvy, narrow roads of Costa Rica there are long fences, beautiful trees and sometimes an innovative combination of the two. Living fences offer strong, sustainable alternative to standard manufactured posts. A living fence or "live fence" is made of trees spaced evenly in a line to form a property border or barrier. A barrier would have the trees closer together and may have barbed wire woven between the trees.

Living fences have many benefits over their dead counterparts. The root systems of the trees decrease erosion and give the fences a sturdier foundation beyond posts pushed into the ground. If the trees are allowed to grow freely, they will provide shade for crops and animals in the closed area. Depending on the type of tree used, it may also offer fruit. If the limbs of the trees are trimmed, they can be used for firewood, timber or for more fence posts. Pochote trees are the most common tree used for living fences. These trees have sharp thorns on their trunks that make them threatening to potential intruders.

Aside from security, privacy, sustainability and overall environmental friendliness of living fences, there are also economic benefits. Living fences don’t have to be replaced as often as traditional fence posts because of the self-healing nature of trees. This saves money that would have been spent on the initial purchase and subsequent purchases.