The world loses about 13 million hectares of forest annually, nearly 4 million hectares in Latin America. The increase in deforestation causes serious social and environmental problems, such as the lack of drinking water sources, reduced crop yields, soil erosion and biodiversity loss.

Costa Rica is the only Latin American country to reverse this trend. Costa Rica’s forest cover reached more than 52% of its territory in 2012 – an increase of nearly 1% compared to 2005. One of Costa Rica’s environmental goals is to be a carbon-neutral country by 2021. The reproduction of forest is a great and important step to reach it. With this plan first of all Costa Rica wants to reduce carbon dioxide, then tries to preserve biodiversity and thirdly, which is probably the most important measure, Costa Rica wants entirely protect their water sources. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation has been fundamental to Costa Rica’s reforestation success. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation encourages reforestation primarily by funding sustainable tree farming projects for the timber industry.

A very effective initiative, which the Costa Rican government has launched, was the Forestry Credit. Since 1987 companies and individuals’ can provide environmental services to request resources to finance their projects. Due to this measure more and more people decide to keep their forest and property and use it as equity instead of not using it at all.

In 1996, Costa Rica launched the Payment for Environmental Services Program, in which the National Forestry Financing Fund pays the owners of forests or forest plantations to protect the environment. Furthermore businesses and other organizations can purchase Environmental Services Certificates, which serve their corporate social responsibility strategies and whose resources help finance the Payment for Environmental Services Program.

Authorities expect to have 7,500 hectares of land reforested and add 100 new farming and forestry companies to the PSA program by the end of 2013 – this is great step to protect our environment!

Through sustainable tourism you can further help to protect our environment and our planet.