Costa Rica has an extremely high biological diversity of plants, animals and landscapes. The country is located in the Neotropics. With a land area of about 51,100 square kilometers and an area of 589,000 square kilometers of territorial waters, Costa Rica is one of the 20 richest countries in biodiversity on earth. The two coastal and mountain regions have a variety of microclimates that are one reason for the abundance of various ecosystems of the country. The detected 500,000 species of the state are 4% of the world’s species adopted. Large sums (nearly 300.000) of the 500,000 species are insects.
Climate protection, nature conservation and forest protection are viewed as a very important part of public policy and are implemented consistently. Loggers had cleared about 80 percent of the rain forest in the 1970s and 1980s, but nowadays more than 50 percent of the country is covered by forest again. To protect the forest, Costa Rica has successfully implemented ecotourism. Due to this measure, locals benefit as well as environmentally conscious travelers. About 1.5 million tourists spend around 1.5 billion dollars yearly to get the chance to visit Costa Rica’s beautiful rainforests.
Around 27% of the land in Costa Rica is protected. Currently there are about 160 protected areas as biological reserves, national parks and nature reserves. There are 26 national parks scattered all over the country with very different characteristic features. To protect the country, In order to protect the country in 1969, the first national park – Santa Rosa – was established in the northwest of the country on the Pacific Coast. Simultaneously, a National Park Authority was created, but first had neither sufficient funds nor personnel resources to effectively protect the park against farmers and settlers.
Thanks to the private initiative “Rainforest of the Austrians” [Regenwald der Österreicher] the situation has now gotten significantly better. Through conservation initiatives 99 square kilometers (nearly 67%) of the Esquinas rainforest are property of the national park. The remaining 48 square kilometers are still privately owned but will be acquired in the following years and incorporated into the national park. The association funds the hiring of two rangers and supports reintroduction projects for endangered animal species and social projects in the community of La Gamba. The Station La Gamba itself will provide a contribution to explore and study the tropical rainforests.