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    Posted April 25, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The world's best national parks

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    Costa Rica - Rincón de la Vieja National Park

    This is an incredible rainforest located in Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. The most striking feature in the forest are the "strangulating ficus" - banyan trees.
    The Banyan gets its Strangler Fig Tree nickname because of how it establishes its twisty tracks of trunk. The Banyan begins its life as a sticky seed atop a host tree. It then extends its roots down the trunk of its host until those roots reach the ground. After the Banyan digs its roots into the ground, it begins to compete with its host for sunlight and water. The Banyan then wraps itself around its host from the top down, winning the fight for sunlight. Eventually, its host dies after weeks of inadequate chlorophyll activity.
    After the Banyan’s host dies, it decays and leaves behind empty space between the Banyans’ root-trunk. This void is the perfect shelter for animals, including birds, monkeys and coatis.
    It is in these ficus condominiums that animals hide from predators or build their homes.
    They are the cloud forest’s prime real estate.
    The pictures portray the progression from start to finish. I took these pictures on April 19th. 2014.
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