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Costa Rica - Main Details

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Status and Trends of Biodiversity


Costa Rica has a large diversity of ecosystems grouped into the following categories: forests, wetlands, marine areas and agricultural areas. Costa Rica has identified a little over 87,000 species, which represents 6.2% of the known species in the world. The species distribution among taxa is as follows: 10,979 plant species and 2,430 vertebrate species including 935 fish, 857 birds, 243 mammals, 235 reptiles, and 182 amphibians. Historically, economic development increased at the expense of the country’s natural resources, particularly in the last half of the 20th century. However, Costa Rica has made progress towards more sustainable use of its natural resources. For example, it has decreased the deforestation rate from 43,000ha in 1983 and 13,000 in 1993, to an average of 5,000ha in the last 5 years.

Number and Extent of Protected Areas

A total of 25.56% of the country is under some form of management category. National parks cover 12.26% of the country, biological reserves cover 0.42%, protected areas cover 3.07%, forest reserves cover 4.26%, wildlife refuges cover 3.42%, wetlands (including mangroves) cover 1.81%, national monuments cover 0.0045%, absolute reserves cover 0.0260% and finally, other areas (estates and research centers) cover 0.3066% of the national territory.

Percentage of Forest Cover

Forests cover about 40% of the national territory. Wetlands cover about 5% and mangroves cover 1% of the surface of the country.

National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan

Major features of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

The general objective of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan is the conservation and fair and equitable use of the country’s biodiversity. Thirteen strategic points were identified as the focus of the NBSAP including: adverse affects of socio and production activities; land planning; inter-institutional and intersectoral coordination; research and investigation; information exchange; indigenous knowledge; in situ and ex situ conservation; access to genetic resources (biosafety and biotechnology); internalization of costs for environmental services and incentives; marine and coastal resources; and national capacity for the management of biodiversity. These strategies incorporate not only the biological aspect (ecosystems, species and genes), but also economic and social aspects for which policies, actions and priorities were identified, as well as the responsible stakeholders.

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme