Costa Rica, a Rainforest Preserved

Introduction

Costa Rica (a country in South American) is located between Nicaragua and Panama. With a total land size of 19,653 sq miles, Cost Rica boarders Caribbean Sea and North Pacific Ocean.

The greatest distance connecting its principal point is 200 miles. This paper discusses Costa Rica with respect to preserved Rainforests and other related geographical phenomena. The country is not highly populated and has a total population of only 3.5 million people. It has five major geographical areas namely the Pacific, Caribbean, North Central Plains, Central Valley, and the Northwest Peninsula.

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It has seven provinces namely “Alajuela, Heredia, San Jose, Limon, Guanacaste, Cartago, and Puntarenas” (Infocostarica 1). Different regions of Costa Rica exhibit different geographical and climatic conditions. The regions have features such as volcanoes and mountains, rivers, forests, and valleys. The rainy season is one of the features of Costa Rica. This has increased the number of rivers and rainforests tremendously. Some of the major rivers in Costa Rica include San Juan, Tempisque, Sixaola, and Pacuare.

There are numerous mountain ranges stretching across the country. A major mountain ridge is the Costa Rican ridge that includes Cordillera of Guanacaste, Cordillera Central, Cordillera of Tilaran, and Cordillera of Talamanca. The volcanic ranges in Costa Rica include the Guanacaste Range, the Central Volcanic Range and the Talamanca Range.

The Rainforests

Costa Rica is featured with various rainforests (a habitat of about 10000 species of trees and plants). More than a quarter of this Central American country is used as biological reserve and for wildlife refuge. It is also among the most bio-diverse countries in the world (Govisitcostarica 1).

The forests in Costa Rica can be classified as rainforest, cloud forest, and topical dry forest. However, the rainforests are the most common in Costa Rica. They are mainly located in the south western parts of the country. Moreover, they exist in the Atlantic lowlands and characteristically featured by tall trees as well as drooping vines. The trees in the forests are tall and some reach up to 70 meters.

The forests are habitat to many animals and many species of plants. Some of the rainforests include Arenal Volcano National Park, Barbilla National Park, Carara National Park and Braulio Carrillo National Park. The cloud forests are mainly located on the slopes of volcanoes and mountains. The tropical forests, on the other hand, are mainly in the North Pacific coast of the country.

The rainforests of Costa Rica are characterized by high levels of biodiversity. Rainforests possess nearly 12000 species of vegetation as well as 1240 different kinds of butterflies. Species of birds in Costa Rica nears 838 while reptiles constitute 440. This is a critical ecological provision when observed decisively. In addition, there are 232 species of mammals (rainforests.mongabay 1). There are five different layers in the rainforests and these are the emergent, the canopy, the under storey, shrub and ground.

Each of these layers has particular plants and animals that are adapted to the conditions in them. The rainforests are also characterized with many rivers and many waterfalls. Geographically, this is a critical provision in the context of biodiversity and environmental viability. It is important to protect the rainforests as advocated by the government.

Rainforests receive approximately 2000 to 6000 mm of rain per year and are in the altitude of between 0-1000m above sea level. The highest temperature in the forests is usually 330C while the lowest is usually 22 degree centigrade (costarica21 1). The tropical rainforests have a variety of plants and trees.

Some of the animals in the rainforests include the green basilisk, the green iguana, the two toed and the three toed sloth and the poison dart frog among many others. There are also different types of birds in the rainforests and these usually attract a lot of bird watchers.

Preservation of the Rainforests

Costa Rica has established and enacted critical conservation plans mandated to protect the mentioned rainforests considerably. The plan aims at protecting more than ten percent of the country so as to have large forest coverage. The implementation of the plan has began and one strip of forest covers over 40 miles without any interruption. The forest strip covers 9 ecological locations in Costa Rica. It extends to areas 12500M altitude.

In 1995, the state initiated a credible program mandated to guard 18% of the Costa Rica’s rainforests. The 18 percent land coverage was to be converted into national parks. In addition to this, another 13 percent of the country was to be given to individuals so that they make private reserves. The state besieged regions with enormous biodiversity for protection. Land owners were issued with certificates of forest protection by the government.

These certificates paid the land owners an average of $50 annually for every hectare of forest cover that they protected. This is the method through which the government funded the project. To this end, around two third of the country’s rainforests are under protection. The country has also initiated a number of programs to promote growth that can be sustained.

The Forest Project of the Foundation for the Development of Central Volcanic Mountain Range is one of the projects that that aim at promoting sustainable development. This project manages around 13000 hectares through the development of plans that land owners can use to manage forests (climatepath 1).

Threats to the Rainforests

Costa Rica earns remarkable revenue from ecotourism. The amount that tourism earns the country in terms of foreign exchange is higher than the amounts earned through the sale of timber. Rainforests have a lot of bio-diversity and this attracts tourists. This is a critical provision when considered decisively in the realms of economic growth and other viable developmental provisions.

The parks that the country has are accessible and the safety standards are high. However, the number of tourists at the parks is at times restricted so as to avoid damage to the forests. The encroachment of the forests by hoteliers has also led to a lot of controversy in the country.

Despite the efforts exerted by Costa Rica to protect rainforests, the country has faced numerous challenges due to deforestation. Costa Rica once had a 99 percent forest cover. This environmental viability has reduced gradually. The present situation nears only 35 percent of forest cover.

The main reasons for deforestation in this country is harvesting for timber and conversion of land for agricultural purposes. Loss of biodiversity and the effects on the climate are the two most severe consequences that destruction of the rainforests has on Costa Rica (Coztarica 1).

The threats that rainforests of Costa Rica face also include high population growth, forest sustainability challenges, and human interferences. Areas with rapid population growth in Costa Rica are in the tropics. In these areas, people clear land for sustenance farming.

Clearing of land, however, continue since rainforest soil loose nutrients quickly after a few years of farming. The other threat to the rainforests in this country is the global and regional climatic change. Global climatic changes have made the tropics warmer and have had the effect of changing the rainfall patterns and thus affect rainforests adversely (costarica21 1).

Conclusion

Costa Rica is a country rich in bio-diversity. The country has numerous geographical features with five major geographical regions and seven provinces. These regions have different climatic conditions. The country receives a lot of rains and has many rainforests. The abundant rain has made the country to have many rivers. The rainforests in the country act as homes to many animals and plants. They have five different layers.

Each layer only harbors plants and animals adapted to it. this is a critical provision when scrutinized critically. The trees in the forests are usually tall and can reach up to 70 meters. The government of Costa Rica has put in place forest conservation plans and has involved citizens in the preservation of the rainforests. The goal is to ensure that there is a large forest cover in the country.

There are also projects that develop management plans to assist in the management of protected forests. The forests have earned the country revenue through tourism even though there are many challenges. The major challenges are deforestation, clearing of forest for farming, population growth, and global climatic changes that threaten the rainforests of Costa Rica.

Works Cited

Climatepath. Costa Rican Rainforests. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012. http://www.climatepath.org/projects/forests/costaricanrainforests

Costarica21. Costa Rica Tropical Rainforest. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012.
http://www.costarica21.com/Tropical-Rainforest.html

Coztarica. Tropical rainforest – a Costa Rican treasure. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012. http://www.coztarica.com/2011/03/08/tropical-rainforest-a-costa-rican-treasure/

Govisitcostarica. Costa Rica Rainforests. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012. http://www.govisitcostarica.com/travelInfo/rainforests.asp

Infocostarica. Geography: Overview, by Infocostarica Staff. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012. http://www.infocostarica.com/nature/geography.html

Rainforests.mongabay. COSTA RICA. 2012. Web. 28 July, 2012.
http://rainforests.mongabay.com/20costarica.htm

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