Did you know that while Costa Rica is only 0.03% of the land mass on earth, it contains nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity? For a country that is slightly smaller than West Virginia, that is pretty impressive. As part of our ongoing celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to look at some of the laws Costa Rica has passed to protect its environment and share some pictures from a trip I took to the Guanacaste Province back in 2016.
In 1998, Costa Rica passed Law No. 7788 of April 30, 1998, on Biodiversity. This law functions within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and seeks to promote the three objectives of the Convention: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of resources, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The Law on Biodiversity is one of almost 30 laws that Costa Rica has passed related to the environment. Furthermore, Costa Rica is party to 45 international environmental treaties. As part of its efforts to protect its environment, Costa Rica funnels taxes into promoting environmental best practices, such as managing protected areas and maintaining clean air and water. The Costa Rican government also pays landowners to protect old-growth forest areas and to plant new trees to promote reforestation, which benefits both farmers and forest ecosystems. All of these efforts have led to success in preserving its environment – over 50% of the country is forest, and it is impossible to avoid encounters with native wildlife, especially the various monkey species. Tourists who visit Costa Rica have numerous opportunities to appreciate its environment. For me, it meant taking a riverboat tour of the Rio Tempisque, visiting wildlife sanctuaries, and touring a privately-owned wetlands wildlife reserve, among other things.
Have you been to Costa Rica? If so, what wildlife encounters did you have? Let us know in the comments.
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