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Costa Rica Is Doubling Forest Cover In Just Three Decades!



forest afforestation

Actually, Costa Rica is doing quite a few things right. A country that is almost entirely reliant on renewable energy sources, Costa Rica has curbed carbon emissions, promoted biodiversity, built numerous animal sanctuaries, and produces some amazing coffee. The nation has also committed to eliminating fossil fuels in the next thirty years. However, over the past three decades, Costa Rica has reached a new milestone – doubling forest cover.

forest afforestation

Source: Unsplash/RubenRamirez

Till the mid-1900s, the majority of land in Costa Rica was taken up by lush forests. However, there was a drastic rise in deforestation in the next couple of decades and by 1983, their 75 percent forest cover had been reduced to just 26 percent. Two-thirds of the forest had been destroyed by lumberjack crews who made massive profits out of this wealth of natural resources. The loss of forest cover also destroyed the natural habitat for many indigenous creatures.

Read: Costa Rica Plans To Be The First Plastic-Free AND Carbon-Free Country In The World By 2021

forest afforestation waterfall

Source: Unsplash/IsabellaJusková

Fortunately, by 1983, Costa Rica had also started to recognize the sheer potential of the ecological diversity they had at hand. Doubling forest cover is no easy task but the government started by putting several safeguards in place. Only a limited number of permits were granted to cut down trees and a national forestry commission was constituted to check the levels of activity in the forest areas.


forest afforestation

Source: Unsplash/LisaKessler

forest afforestation fruits

Source: Unsplash/OvidiuCreanga

forest afforestation leaves

Source: Unsplash/KristianaPinne

The government also started offering various incentives in order to get more people involved in the mission of doubling forest cover. Landowners found themselves well compensated for making efforts to plant more trees. Even when they were granted logging permits, it was on the condition that trees would be planted in those areas. Through the growth of ecotourism in Costa Rica, the revenue earned here and through taxes, as well as through international donations, has given the government the financial backing it needs to encourage conservation and reforestation efforts. Several people and organizations have received grants for performing services for the environment.

forest afforestation

Source: Unsplash/JulianaBarquero


Doubling forest cover has also become a huge boost to Costa Rica’s economy. Much of the nation’s GDP comes from ecotourism which is completely reliant on the growth of these massive, lush, tropical rainforests. According to Robert Blasiak, a researcher at Tokyo University, Costa Rica’s achievements over the past three decades might just be the impetus we need to create real change at a global level. President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica has stated that dealing with the climate crisis is “the greatest task of our generation” and has made clear the level of Costa Rica’s commitment to this duty.

Read: Philippines Passes Law Requiring Students To Plant 10 Trees If They Want To Graduate

forest afforestation

Source: Unsplash/IsabellaJusková

Costa Rica’s great environmental run doesn’t stop here, of course. The country plans to be rid of single-use plastics in the next couple of years. Over the past year, they’ve been working on producing alternatives that are recyclable or at least biodegradable. President Alvarado even acknowledged that creating a society that is entirely free of fossil fuel is difficult but he has confidence that Costa Rica will be one of the first countries to do so. The rest of the world would do well to follow this example.

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