Costa Rica’s Return to Forest in the Midst of Latin America’s Deforestation

Costa Rica’s Return to Forest in the Midst of Latin America’s Deforestation

Original article by Wendy Anders, May 3, 2017 The Costa Rica Star

Changes in forest cover
Changes in forest cover. Image by Rodrigo Ruiz

While Latin America as a whole has experienced marked deforestation, Costa Rica has proved the notable exception, and has sustained and even increased its forest cover, said a climate investigation published in the University of Costa Rica’s weekly Semanario Universidad.

What has led to Costa Rica’s success? The United Nations Organization for Agriculture (FAO) says state support and incentives to preserve forests have played a key role.

Costa Rica’s environmental services payment program (PSA, its initials in Spanish) is one of the most successful environmental public policies in the country’s history, and has been used as a model for other countries.

The country went from having 75 percent forest cover in 1940 to an all time low of 21 percent in 1987, as shown in the infographic included above by Revista Vacío.

Today, more than half of the country is forested and, about 50 percent of forested lands are classified as protected.

The environmental service payment program was formalized in 1997, having morphed out of some similar previous programs. Between 1996 and 2015, investments in forest-related PSA projects in Costa Rica reached US$318 million, according to the FAO.

The program pays for four types of “environmental services” on forested lands. These include carbon capture; water protection for rural, urban or hydroelectric use; protection of biodiversity; and natural scenic beauty or value for tourism and/or scientific purposes. In essence, the program is simple: if you keep the forest on your property, Costa Rica will pay you.

The report in Semanario Universidad found that the environmental service payment program tends to be more effective in areas far from national parks. This appears to be related to the fact that owners of lands near national parks can often find more lucrative uses for their land due to the presence of tourism, and so conserving forest for government payments is not as attractive as in more remote areas.

An important finding for the FAO was that while other Latin American countries cleared forests to make room for agricultural production, Costa Rica was able to increase conservation and sustainable management of forests without jeopardizing their food security. In fact, the FAO found that 70 percent of deforestation in Latin America between 2000 and 2010 occurred to make way for commercial agriculture.

Costa Rica has increased its food security since the 1990s by increasing agricultural productivity and importing food from countries with lower production costs, according to the recent FAO report.

While there continue to be poor, landless and vulnerable rural families suffering from food insecurity, Costa Rica appears to be heading the right way and has found a way to preserve its forest cover while maintaining good levels of food security, said the report.

5 REASONS EXPLAINING THE FASCINATION ABOUT COSTA RICA

5 REASONS EXPLAINING THE FASCINATION ABOUT COSTA RICA

Originally published on The Costa Rica News, Feb. 9, 2017. 

Tourism in Costa Rica is booming since years. Meanwhile about 5 million people are living in the country of “Pura Vida”. And more than another 2.5 million travelers per year are coming here for a visit. A number as big as half the population itself. The tiny state of Costa Rica seems to be a dream destination from all over the world: Australia, Canada and many western European countries. But the majority of visitors originates from the United States. Nearly 700.000 US tourists traveled to Costa Rica in 2015. The Costa Rican National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) already has mentioned that the numbers of 2016 continued to show growth, though they did not publish the statistics of last year yet. Seems like the whole world has a Fascination about Costa Rica.

Waterfall in Costa Rica
Waterfall in Costa Rica

Reasons for traveling to Costa Rica

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Why this Texas doctor says Costa Rica’s health care system beats the US

Why this Texas doctor says Costa Rica’s health care system beats the US

The article originally appeared on International Living and recently published by Dr. John Michael Arthur on CNBC, January 13, 2017.

 

CIMA Hospital
CIMA Hospital

I was sitting on our cantilevered terrace, listening to birdsong and the river flowing below me. I pondered the 11,000-foot-tall Volcano Irazú in the distance. From the top of the tallest volcano in the country, it’s possible to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a clear day.

Suddenly there came a rapid-fire knock at the door. I knew something was different this morning—Costa Ricans rarely get worked up.

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New Bridge Provides Better Access to Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio Park

New Bridge Provides Better Access to Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio Park

Originally published in the Costa Rica Star by Wendy Anders, Dec. 21, 2016

Yesterday, transportation authorities inaugurated a new bridge at the entrance to the Central Pacific port town of Quepos, the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park.

New Bridge in Quepos
New Bridge in Quepos

The cement structure replaces a bailey bridge that spanned the Boca Vieja estuary, said the National Highway Council (Conavi, in Spanish) in a press statement.

Carlos Villalta, Minister of Public Works and Transport (MOPT), said at the inauguration the infrastructure cost ¢1.560 million (about US$286,000).

The two-lane bridge provides safer access to and from Quepos for motorized vehicles and also pedestrians, with sidewalks in both directions, said Vice President of the Republic Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría.

Costa Rica Celebrates 68 Years Without an Army

Costa Rica Celebrates 68 Years Without an Army

Originally published by Wendy Anders in The Costa Rica Star –  December 1, 2016

“Blessed is the Costa Rican mother who knows that her son at birth will never be a soldier,” said the well-known Japanese politician and philanthropist Ryoichi Sasakawa in one of his visits to Costa Rica, as reported in Costa Rica’s Elperiodicocr.com digital news source today on the anniversary of Costa Rica’s abolition of its army on December 1, 1948.

Costa Rica. No army since 1948.
Costa Rica. No army since 1948.

Costa Rica made one of the most important decisions in its history 68 years ago by abolishing the army.

In a symbolic act, with a blow to the Bellavista Barracks, carried out by the then President of the Founding Governing Board of the Second Republic, José Figueres Ferrer, the Costa Rican army was officially dissolved, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

A series of events during that time, including the Civil War of 1948, and the ensuing formation of a Governing Board, which ruled for 18 months, allowed for important reforms in the country such as the creation of universal health care and education.

At the end of the Civil War and upon assuming power, the Founding Governing Board met with an extremely weakened army, and they jointly decided to eliminate it in order to invest the resources in improving the social and economic situation of the country, said Elperiodicocr.com.

The day the abolition of the Army was announced, the keys to the military barracks were handed over to the newly founded University of Costa Rica so they could establish the National Museum as a center for anthropological studies.

On October 31, 1949, the National Constituent Assembly incorporated the abolition of the army into Article 12 of the Political Constitution, thereby ensuring to the permanent elimination of the Costa Rican army, reported Elperiodicocr.com.

This year, the 68th anniversary of this momentous event for Costa Rica was celebrated with a symbolic act in the Plaza de la Democracia in downtown San José.

Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s Top Destination, and There are Good Reasons Why

Manuel Antonio is Costa Rica’s Top Destination, and There are Good Reasons Why

By Guest Blogger Karl Kahler. This article originally appeared in the Tico Times October 3, 2016

Aerial view of Quepos & Marina Pez Vela
Quepos Aerial By Kevin Heslin, Courtesy of Marina Pez Vela

MANUEL ANTONIO, Puntarenas — The first tourists to lay eyes on Manuel Antonio were apparently the crewmen of the Spanish explorer Hernán Ponce de León, who sailed into these waters in 1519. But the numerous Quepo natives on the shore put on such a display of hostility against the foreigners that he decided against landing and proceeded to safer shores farther north.

How times have changed.

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29 Reasons Why You Should Visit Costa Rica – The World’s Happiest Country

29 Reasons Why You Should Visit Costa Rica – The World’s Happiest Country

Thank you to guest blogger Oliver Smith, Digital Travel Editor. This article appeared originally in telegraph.co.uk August 30, 2016.

1. It’s the world’s happiest country

According to the most recent Happy Planet Index, published last month, which aims to measure human well-being and environmental impact, Costa Rica is the most satisfying place in which to live. It has an HPI score of 44.7, putting it just above Mexico and Colombia. Britain, on the other hand, languishes in 34th.

5 happy people jumping in the air
Happy people in Costa Rica

2. Perhaps because it’s got no army

The constitution of this peace-loving nation has forbidden a standing army since 1949 and it is now the home of the United Nations University for Peace.

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Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade attracts thousands to nation’s capital

Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade attracts thousands to nation’s capital

Originally Published www.ticotimes.net/2014/12/26/

More than 3,000 horse riders gathered punctually at noon on Friday to begin the 3-kilometer course of Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade, or Tope Nacional. It began at Plaza Víquez, just south of San José’s central canton.

The San José Municipality organizes the parade every year on Dec. 26 to commemorate National Horse Rider Day. It is one of the favorite events held during holiday celebrations in the capital, along with the Festival of Light and the Zapote Festival.

This year’s parade marshal was Claudia Romero, a member of Costa Rica’s National Equestrian Team who on Aug. 28 fell from her horse during a competition in France. The horse died in the accident and Romero spent two weeks in a coma at a French hospital.

San Jose Horse Festival
A participant shows his roping skills during the Tope Nacional in downtown San José, on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. – Alberto Font/The Tico Times

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Costa Rica Ranked As World’s Happiest Country

Costa Rica Ranked As World’s Happiest Country

According to the new “Happy Planet” report from British nonprofit group New Economics Foundation, if you’d like to live a more rewarding life, it might be work trading in your Rolex for a surfboard and heading south to Costa Rica. You can check it out with a Costa Rica beach vacation at the Discovery Beach House vacation rental in Manuel Antonio.

By Kathryn Hawkins. Posted on July 05 2009 on Gimundo.com

Costa Rica rain forestAccording to the new “Happy Planet” report from British nonprofit group New Economics Foundation, if you’d like to live a more rewarding life, it might be work trading in your Rolex for a surfboard and heading south. Their comprehensive new report, which compares nations according to their populations’ life expectancies, life satisfaction, and ecological footprint, combining all of the factors to create a “Happy Planet Index” score, ranks the sunny, fun-loving Costa Rica as the number one place in the world to live, followed by the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala, Vietnam, Colombia, El Salvador, Brazil, and Honduras to round out the top ten.

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