TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT
Living in Costa Rica's diverse forest habitats and ecosystems are: 13 thousand
plant species, 2,000 moth and 4,500 butterfly species, 163 varieties of
amphibians, 220 types of reptiles, 1,600 species of fresh and salt water fish, and at
least 870 types of birds.
The extensive landscape also boasts many different types of forests, including
deciduous, mangrove swamps, rain forests, herbaceous ponds, cloud
forests, moors, palm groves, oak woods, riparian forests, and swamp groves.
Among Costa Rica's environmental wonders are extensive volcanoes, several of
which are active and produce relaxing thermal springs, and are some of Costa
Rica's most popular attractions. There are deep caves to explore and preColumbian settlements, sites of many meso-American archaeological studies.
These are all part of a vast system of 22 national parks, 10 wildlife refuges, 12
biological reserves, 8 forest reserves and 26 protected zones, covering 25% of the
Tens of thousands of visitors are able to experience the natural environment. The
national park system in Costa Rica is the main attraction in ecotourism with ecoresorts, eco-lodges and eco-hotels. The first strictly protected area came about in
1963. There are now 30 parks and more than 2230 different protected areas in
g, paragliding, can
walks, tours, hikin
g and aquatic
POSITIVE EFFECTS ON THE
while not the case initially, over time ecotourism has become one of the main
justifications for preservation of natural areas throughout Costa Rica, resulting in
rapid expansion of the national park system which now includes seventy different
entities. Looking at it from a different perspective, close to 14% of the country has
been designated as national protected areas, which puts Costa Rica among the
leaders in environmental preservation throughout the Caribbean
Similarly, the emphasis on natural preservation for the sake of ecotourism has
helped stem the widespread deforestation of the countryside. Although
deforestation in Costa Rica is still problematic ,deforestation has decreased over
Alternative to Environmentally Damaging Industries; For instance, the previously
mentioned EARTH research institution has been researching the production of
possible banana byproducts such as banana paper made from the generally
discarded banana stalk
Encourages Individual Conservation Efforts; By experiencing first hand the beauty
of the Monteverde Cloud Forest or the majesty of a Red Macaw, tourists may
return home wanting to do more to help protect the environment.
Encourages Small Scale Infrastructure Construction; One of A.L. Andersen's designs
is the Lapa Rios Resort located on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. To ensure that the
resort has as little negative impact as possible on the surrounding
environs, Andersen took into account waste management and utilities, as well as
the actual building design. Construction of the Lapa Rios Resort necessitated the
removal of only one tree, and the completed resort consists of only a main lodge
and 14 private bungalows.
TURUBARI AND VERAGUA
park and veragua
national park have
into their tourist
activities such as
nature and using
very little artificial in
DISADVANTAGES OF TOURISM IN
One of the environmental effects of ecotourism is overcrowding and
impacts of using it. It can give undue pressure to environmentally sensitive
areas. Overcrowding natural areas with visitors could result in
environmental degradation. Overcrowding or sudden influx of tourists could
lead to excess in the local carrying capacities which will have negative
impacts on the environment since the locals are left with the responsibilities
of coping with solid waste generation, pollution, habitat destruction, forest
degradation and trail erosion. It could also degrade the delicate balance
of the ecosystems and threatens the environment from which it depends.
Profit over Protection and Inadequate Enforcement
Reliance on International Donors
Leakage; In the Tortuguero National Park of Costa Rica, a mere 6% of the
total income will go to the local communities.
Exploitation of Local Work Force; A study conducted in the Osa peninsula
showed that ecotourism made the inhabitants poorer not richer as thought.
Instability; Although Costa Rica's political outlook appears positive, sudden
political instability, escalating crime rates, terrorism, or threats of a global
recession could all trigger an unexpected sharp decline in tourism.