Deforestation in Costa Rica
Deforestation is a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems in Costa Rica. The country has a rich biodiversity with some 12,000 species of plants, 1,239 species of butterflies, 838 species of birds, 440 species of reptiles and amphibians, 232 species of mammals, which have been under threat from deforestation. Deforestation in Costa Rica has a serious impact on the environment and therefore may directly or indirectly contribute to flooding, sedimentation in rivers, loss of wildlife diversity, the obvious sheer loss of timber. Since the end of World War II 80% of the forests of Costa Rica have disappeared. 20,000 acres of land are deforested annually. As the population grew, the people of Costa Rica cut down the forests to provide for pastureland for cattle ranching to produce beef for the world market to raise revenue. Since the 1950s 60% of Costa Rica has been cleared to make room for cattle ranching; the problem was worsened because during the 1960s, the United States offered Costa Rican cattle ranchers millions of dollars in loans to produce beef.
The deforestation of Costa Rica's tropical rain forests as in other countries is a threat to life worldwide with a profound effect on the global climate. Soil erosion has increased with deforestation with the topsoil washed away from the hills into the streams and out into the oceans, year after year. Over half of Costa Rica's existing forest cover today is under the protection of national parks, biological reserves, or wildlife refuges. However, the major problem in regards to deforestation is the owned plots which occupy the other half. Lenient laws on land and amendments to forestry law makes it easy to obtain logging concessions as owners exploit the land to maximise income; as logging companies enter these forests to exploit them, they require access roads to transport the timber. While cattle ranching is by far the primary cause of deforestation in Costa Rica, banana plantations have significantly contributed to the problem. Lowland rainforest has been most affected where 130,000 acres of forested land have been removed.
Such industries have been synonymous with health risks, notably the high levels of toxic pesticides which affected thousands of plantation workers throughout Central America in the 1970s. Pesticides used to grow bananas and other fruits such as mangoes and citrus fruit may enter the hydrological systems and contaminate the water; the removal of the forest to make way for these fruit plantations may disrupt the nutrient balance in the soil and through monoculture exhaust the soils and render them unsustainable. Although most of the larger plantations in Costa Rica are owned by large companies multinationals, population pressure in Costa Rica has increased the demand for land among farmers who are forced to venture out onto new land to deforest and farm and compete over scraps of land. While certain conservation laws have been passed in Costa Rica, the government lacks the resources to enforce them; the amount of Costa Rican land deforested annually has declined since 1977: The conservation program in Costa Rica is ambitious and is one of the most developed among tropical rainforest countries.
The country has a high level of biodiversity and different eco-zones within a small area. For example one of the country's protected areas is a strip of forest which runs for 40 miles through nine ecological zones from sea level to 12,500 feet. In 1995, the government introduced further protected areas, a further 13% of the country was put under protection through owned preserves those with high biodiversity; the National Bamboo Project of Costa Rica was founded in 1986 to help decrease deforestation. The scheme aims at reducing deforestation by means of replacing timber with bamboo as a primary building material and providing low cost housing for Costa Rica's rural poor. By cultivating and building with Guadua species, indigenous giant bamboos, the National Bamboo Project was able to raise thousands of new homes for the poor, benefit the environment, advance bamboo-based building technology. In a number of parts of Costa Rica, areas that were bare ten years ago have now been reforested. Many non-government conservation organizations are working in the country to prevent deforestation and further these efforts of preservation and restoration.
The country has significantly taken advantage of ecotourism, taking the initiative to raise revenue through tourism while still protecting the forests. Today, while deforestation rates have declined from the 1990s with increased conservation efforts and such schemes, the remaining forests still face threats from illegal logging in protected areas and land cleared for agriculture and cattle pasture in unprotected areas. Corruption exists in Costa Rica, but this problem is much lower than in many other Latin American countries. Decentralized decision-making is being practiced in Costa Rica to improve protected area management and biodiversity conservation. Costa Rica stands out among all developing tropical countries for its commitment toward environmental and natural resources issues; the central government has developed a protected area system that has given some kind of protected status to 25% of its national territory. In the mid-nineties the Costa Rican government started to decentralize management and decision-making of all protected areas in the country to promote locally based biodiversity conservation governance.
All protected areas were grouped in eleven regionally based administrative units and were labeled as conservation areas. The central g
Administrative divisions of Costa Rica
According to the Political Constitution of Costa Rica of 1949, in article 168, the territorial division of Costa Rica is organized by law into three types of subnational entity: For the purposes of the Public Administration, the national territory is divided into provinces, these in cantons and cantons in districts. Costa Rica is divided into: 7 provinces 82 cantons 478 districtsAll entities are numbered, the provinces get 1 digit, the cantons 3 digit with the first being the number of the province, the districts get 5 digits with the first 3 being the numbers of the canton; the district numbers are used as postal codes. With the establishment of the republic and the declaration of Costa Rica as "free and independent republic," the Political Constitution of the Reformed Costa Rica of 1848 was approved on November 30 Of that year, according to Law No. 36 of December 7 of 1848, the denominations of province, canton & district. According to the aforementioned law, the following provinces were created: San José, with one canton and ten parish districts.
Alajuela, with two cantons and eight parish districts. Carthage, with two cantons and thirteen parish districts. Heredia, with one canton and seven parish districts. Guanacaste, with four cantons and eight parish districts; this law classified Puntarenas as county, a category, now in disuse. Legislative Decree No. 10 of September 17, 1858 gives Puntarenas the title of province. Decree No. 27 of June 6, 1870 created the "County of Limón" from the easternmost territory of the Province of Carthage, allowed the establishment of a town hall. It would not be until 1902, under Legislative Decree No. 59 of August 1 that it was constituted in the seventh and last of the provinces that comprise the national territory. From 1848 to 1980 the number of cantons in the country has gone from 10 to 82; the last canton to be constituted is the Rio Cuarto ancient district of Greece province of Alajuela. The districts, on the other hand, have experienced greater flexibility in their constitution process, so their numbers are changing.
For example, there are now 470 districts, when in 2000, when the population census was conducted the districts were 463. Politically and administratively, Costa Rica is made up of 7 provinces: The concept of City Hall or City Council falls to the second-level sub-national entity, governed by a mayor elected every four years in general elections, as well as a Municipal Council. According to the Political Constitution, article 169:"The administration of the local interests and services in each canton will be in charge of the Municipal Government, formed of a deliberative body, composed of municipal councilors of popular election, of an executive officer who will designate the law." Each canton is divided into districts. Each district has a District Council chaired by a syndic, all popularly elected; the District Council is the interlocutor between the district and the municipal government and ensures the communal and neighborhood interests before the Municipal Council, although the direct administration of the district falls to the municipality, the District Councils exercise administrative functions such as forwarding projects To the Council and supervise the work of the mayor.
In Costa Rica there are 24 indigenous territories duly delimited by the central government and have limited autonomy. These territories are administered by the Associations of Indigenous Development like a local government according to Decree No. 13568-G of the Executive Power. List of districts of Costa Rica http://www.inec.go.cr/Encuestas/Manual de códigos geográficos División Territorial Administrativa de la República de Costa Rica al 8 de marzo de 2017
Wildlife of Costa Rica
The Wildlife of Costa Rica comprises all occurring animals and plants that reside in this Central American country. Costa Rica supports an enormous variety of wildlife, due in large part to its geographic position between the North and South American continents, its neotropical climate, its wide variety of habitats. Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide, making Costa Rica one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. Of these 500,000 species, a little more than 300,000 are insects. One of the principal sources of Costa Rica's biodiversity is that the country, together with the land now considered Panama, formed a bridge connecting the North and South American continents three to five million years ago; this bridge allowed the different flora and fauna of the two continents to mix. Costa Rica is considered to possess the highest density of biodiversity of any country worldwide. While encompassing just one third of a percent of Earth's landmass the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica contains four percent of species estimated to exist on the planet.
Hundreds of these species are endemic to Costa Rica. These endemic species include frogs, lizards, hummingbirds, mice and gobies among many more. Costa Rica's biodiversity can be attributed to the variety of ecosystems within the country. Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests and Pacific coastline, cloud forests, mangrove forests are all represented throughout the 19,730 square miles of Costa Rica's landmass; the ecological regions are twelve climatic zones. This variation provides numerous niches. Costa Rica demonstrates biodiversity conservation for developing countries. Over twenty-seven percent of the country's land has a protected status as national parks, wildlife refuges, forest preserves, more; the Costa Rican government is active in protecting its biodiversity for the ecological services they provide. The government imposes a five percent tax on gasoline to generate revenue to pay landowners to refrain from clear-cutting on their land and instead to create tree plantations; this provides Costa Ricans, or “Ticos” as they call themselves, incentive to become active tree farmers instead of cattle ranchers.
Tree farms provide some habitat for wildlife, enabling some measure of biodiversity to remain in these areas despite humans’ use of these natural resources. Costa Rica's biodiversity contributes to the numerous ecological services; every aspect of the ecosystem from the different species of plants to the diversity of animal species contributes to natural services like water purification, provision of food, fuel and biochemicals, nutrient cycling and seed dispersal, climate regulation, just to name a few. As the diversity of species increases, more of these services can be provided and to a greater extent. Biodiversity has contributed to the economy of Costa Rica. Ecotourism brings in 1.92 billion dollars in revenue for the country. Ecotourism is defined as "tourism directed toward exotic threatened, natural environments to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife." Costa Rica's abundant biodiversity makes the country an attractive destination for ecotourism. Thirty-nine percent of tourists cite nature as their primary reason for visiting the country.
The profitable industry of ecotourism entices businesses to capitalize on natural resources by protecting and preserving them rather than consuming them. Threats to Costa Rica's biodiversity include a growing human population, developing coastlines for the industry of tourism and harmful agricultural practices all contributing to pollution and environmental degradation; the practice causing the largest concern for Costa Rica's environment is deforestation. Costa Rica has the fourth highest rate of deforestation in the world. Four percent of its current forested lands are cut each year. Clearing land for cattle ranching is the most common cause of deforestation; this form of environmental damage along with the farming of monocultures leads to areas where only a few species of plants are present. Decreases in plant diversity leads to decreased animal diversity. There are at least 8,000 species of moths. Butterflies and moths are more present during the rainy season. Ten percent of known butterfly species worldwide reside in Costa Rica.
Costa Rican butterflies and moths have made amazing adaptations to the environment. Some examples of these are the following: Swallowtail caterpillars imitate bird droppings and many others have bright colours to warn predators of bodily toxins. What someone could mistake for a butterfly, a wasp, or a leaf in Costa Rica might be a moth engaging in Müllerian or Batesian mimicry. Ecotourism is one of Costa Rica's primary economic resources, the country's butterflies add a lot to that, they bring life to tropical forests, not only with the diversity in colour, but with the magnificence of the flowers that they help pollinate. Some common butterflies and moths in Costa Rica include: Thoas swallowtail Marpesia berania Doxocopa laure Banded peacock Zebra longwing Morpho butterfly Green page moth GlasswingSome notable insects in Costa Rica are stingless bees and sweat bees such as L. figueresi and L. aeneiventre, ants such as leaf-cutter ants and army ants, Hercules beetle, many katydids. Invertebrate species make up most of Costa Rica's wildlife.
Of the estimated 500,000 species, about 493,000 are invertebrates. It is known that there are t
Provinces of Costa Rica
According to Article 168 of the Constitution of Costa Rica, the political divisions are classified into 3 tiers of sub-national entities. The Constitution of Costa Rica states, "For Public Administration purposes, the national territory is divided into provinces, these into cantons and cantons into districts." The country consists of 7 provinces, 81 cantons, 473 districts. ISO 3166-2:CR Cantons of Costa Rica Districts of Costa Rica Media related to Provinces of Costa Rica at Wikimedia Commons
Pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica
The pre-Columbian history of Costa Rica extends from the establishment of the first settlers until the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Archaeological evidence allows us to date the arrival of the first humans to Costa Rica to between 7000 and 10,000 BC. By the second millennium BC sedentary farming communities existed. Between 300 BC and AD 300 many communities moved from a tribal, clan-centric organization – kinship-based hierarchical and dependent on self-sustenance – to a hierarchical one, with caciques, religious leaders or shamans, artisan specialists and so on; this social organization arose from the need to organize manufacture and trade, manage relations with other communities and plan offensive and defensive activities. These groups established broader territorial divisions to produce more food and control wider sources of raw materials. From the 9th century certain villages grew in size, the latter-period chiefdoms of the 16th century came to develop greater social hierarchies and major improvements in infrastructure.
The presence of humans in the Americas was a much phenomenon than on other continents. The first humans are dated to around 40,000 to 50,000 BC, it is suggested a date. In any case, the concentration of ice over the continents during the last Ice Age caused the oceans to recede by about 120 meters, allowing groups of hunters from northeast Asia to move eastward in pursuit of great herds of animals, they traveled to North America and settled there in several waves, over the course of several millennia and through successive generations, the descendants of these hunters spread out throughout the Americas and her neighboring islands. There is archaeological evidence that places the arrival of the first humans to Costa Rica between 7,000 and 10,000 BC. In the valley of Turrialba sites have been found in areas where quarry and tradesman tools such as bifaces were manufactured, it is thought that these first settlers of Costa Rica belonged to small nomadic groups of around 20 to 30 members bound by kinship, which moved continually to hunt animals and gather roots and wild plants.
In addition to the species that still exist today, their usual prey animals included the so-called mega-fauna such as giant armadillos and mastodons. Around 8000 BC climatic changes brought about the end of the last Ice Age; the increase in temperature caused substantial changes in vegetation and saw the extinction of the mega-fauna, through either the disappearance of the plants they consumed, excessive predation by hunter or a combination of both. The hunter-gatherers had to develop strategies to adapt to new conditions, they continued by hunting smaller species such as tapirs, collared peccary and deer; the new wealth of tropical vegetation, helped them to survive through all times of year. It is thought that human groups remained small, about 30 to 100 members, organized in nomadic or semi-nomadic bands devoted to hunting and gathering. However, the knowledge of the local environment allowed them to plan their travels though different areas based on the periodic ripening of certain fruits and the growth of familiar plants as well as the availability of other resources.
Along these familiar paths they could find temporary shelter under rock ledges, or establish outdoor camps with tapavientos or other temporary structures. Tradesman work areas, campfire pits and other fragmentary evidence of life in these groups have been found in the Turrialba valley and in various spots around Guanacaste; the manufacturing of specialized tools for various activities continued, artifacts from this era such as scrapers and spear tips display differences in form and size relative to those of the mega-fauna hunters. By 5000 BC it became common to farm tubers and corn, as well as cultivate fruit trees and palm trees. Agriculture emerged stemming from knowledge of the annual cycles of nature and the progressive domestication of familiar plants; this development occurred over thousands of years and coexisted with traditional hunting and gathering, but it afforded a certain amount of stability. To ensure subsistence of these groups there had to exist forms of collective work and property, as well as egalitarian relationships.
Between 2000 BC and 300 BC, some communities of early farmers became egalitarian societies. The development of agriculture prompted changes in the relationship between humans and nature, allowed them to feed many more people. Furthermore, the ever-growing dependence on agriculture compelled human groups to establish permanent settlements around agricultural fields; this led to stable villages of huts. The agricultural system most employed was slash-and-burn: The forest would be cut with stone axes and spades burned to prepare it for planting crops. Agricultural practices included semiculture or a combination of both. Vegeculture came about by farming tubers and diverse palms and trees, in combination with hunting and fishing; this activity was stable, since it demanded few nutrients from the soil caused erosion and could be developed in hilly areas. By such means, societies based on vegeculture would change slowly. In contrast to vegeculture, semiculture had a greated effect on the environment, because it required more nutrients from the soil and caused greater erosion.
In return, this system had a big advantage: it make food easier to store so that it could be made available all year, not just around harvest time. This led to larger societies where functions w
Geography of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located on the Central American Isthmus, surrounding the point 10° north of the equator and 84° west of the prime meridian. It borders both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, with a total of 1,290 km of coastline. Costa Rica shares a border with Nicaragua with Panama to the south; the area of Costa Rica is 51,100 km² of which 51,060 km² is land and 40 km² is water, making it smaller than the U. S. state of West Virginia. The nation's terrain is a coastal plain separated by rugged mountains, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca, which form the spine of the country and separate the Pacific and Caribbean watersheds. Costa Rica claims an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles; the spine of the country produces many major river systems. Rivers draining into the Caribbean include: Colorado River Pacuare River Reventazón River Reventazón River Sixaola River Rivers draining into the Lake Nicaragua or the San Juan River, whose waters drains into the Caribbean, include: Sapoá River Frío River San Carlos River Sarapiquí River Rivers draining into the Pacific Ocean include: Abangares River Guacimal River Sierpe River Tempisque River Térraba River In the eastern half of the country, the San Juan River forms the northern border with Nicaragua.
The Tilaran Range is part of the Continental Divide east of Lake Arenal and the nearby active volcano Arenal, running into the Cordillera Central range further east. It is located in the Abangares district of the province of Guanacaste. At the edge of the range is the Monteverde cloud forest preserve, a major ecotourism destination; the Central Range continues the Continental Divide east of Cordillera de Tilarán. It has four large volcanoes: Poás, Irazú and Turrialba; the highest peak is Irazú at 3,432 m. The Guanacaste Range is in northern Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua; the range forms part of the southern region of the Continental Divide, the highest peak being the extinct stratovolcano Miravalles at 2,028 m. Peaks include: Tenorio Volcano Miravalles Volcano Orosí Volcano Rincón de la Vieja Volcano Arenal Volcano Much of the Talamanca Range is included in the La Amistad International Park, shared between Costa Rica and Panama; the country's highest peaks lie in this mountain range: the Cerro Chirripó and the Cerro Kamuk.
Much of the region is covered by the forest. The Cerros de Escazú borders the Central Valley to the south and is considered the northernmost portion of the Cordillera de Talamanca. Costa Rica´s climate is tropical and subtropical. Like all Central American countries, Costa Rica is considered a biodiversity hotspot. According to the INBio, about 4.5% of the world's biodiversity can be found in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is home to about 12,119 species of plants. There are more than 1,400 types of orchids. A half of the country's land is covered by forests, though only 3.5% is covered by primary forests. Deforestation is a devastating process, with more than 8,100 ha of forest being lost annually; the main reason for such high deforestation levels is to make plains for cattle ranching. Wildlife diversity is high. Costa Rica has high levels of endemism. However, many species are endangered. According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 209 species of birds, reptiles and plants are endangered; some of the country's most endangered species are the Harpy eagle, the Giant anteater, the Golden toad and the Jaguar.
IUCN reports the Golden toad as extinct. Costa Rica is famous for more than 160 protected areas; the other types of protected areas in Costa Rica are National Wildlife Refuges, Biological Reserves, Protection Zones, Absolute Nature Reserves. Together the protected areas comprise over one-fourth of Costa Rican territory. 9.3% of the country is protected under IUCN categories I-V. The creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1970 gave much needed protection to one of the region's most important and unique natural resources: a 22 km stretch of shoreline that serves as the principal nesting site for sea turtles. Environmental issues include deforestation a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching. Costa Rica is party to many environmental treaties, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Environmental Modification, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Montreal Protocol, the Ramsar Convention, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, the Desertification Convention, the Endangered Species Convention, the Basel Convention, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Marine Dumping, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
It not ratified the Convention on Marine Life Conservation and the Kyoto Protocol. Total: 51,100 sq km Land: 50,660 sq km Water: 440 sq km Total: 661 km Border countries: Nicaragua 313 km, Panam