Costa Rica’s national parks stand as a model for the preservation of biodiversity in the tropics, with 622,000 ha, or 12.2%, of the country set aside in preserves. In 1970, efforts to establish the parks were met with indifference but a practical strategy for nature conservation and favorable opportunities led to success, including establishment of Poas Volcano, Cahuita, Santa Rosa and Tortuguero National Parks in 1970–1971. Since then we have concentrated on four main activities. (1) procuring funds and personnel; (2) obtaining national and international support; (3) developing conservation education programs; and (4) getting environmental legislation passed Today we continue to build the national park system. We are creating a system of national forests, encouraging commercial reforestation and management of private land, consolidating the national parks system, and continuing to raise funds. Because most tourism is based on the national parks, we are asking the tourism industry to do its fair share to support the parks and to encourage wise use and conservation. Many organizations use funds to maintain an international bureaucracy rather than supporting direct conservation in the field. We do not need more planning studies and documents to tell us what to do, but instead we need funds to make environmental conservation a reality at the grass‐roots level. International environmental standards should be set by a United Nations environmental organization that is empowered to infringe on the sovereignty of individual states in environmental matters. Future concerns for the national parks of Costa Rica include the economic situation, conservation education, the need to demonstrate the monetary value of conservation, population growth, the need for citizen involvement and the need for effective environmental legislation.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1993
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