Conservation in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is perhaps the developing nation with the greatest level of achievement in the field of conservation of biodiversity and other natural resources, having included over 25% of its land area in different categories of protected areas, as well as having made great strides in educating its population about the importance of protecting the environment. An indicator of this success is that although during the 1980s Costa Rica had one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, by 2005 the country was experiencing a net increase in the amount of natural forest cover, both inside and outside of protected areas.
Nevertheless, there are many areas where the country must still improve, most notably in the protection of freshwater and marine resources. Costa Rica must also reduce its dependence on fossil fuels for transportation if it has any chance of reaching its stated goal of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2021.
Costa Rica’s Southern Pacific region is among the richest areas for biological diversity of its size in the world. This small area contains an extraordinarily broad range of terrestrial and marine habitats, and an incredible number of species of plants and animals. While many of these riches are contained within public protected areas, there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure conservation on private lands, and to create biological corridors linking these areas to help ensure the long term survival of many species.
The waters off of the southern pacific coast of Costa Rica are also extremely rich biologically; in particular, this is one of the areas in the western hemisphere where marine mammals are most common, and is an important breeding area for humpback whales. Also, many of the region’s beaches are crucial nesting grounds for several species of sea turtles.