How many Conservation Areas exist in Costa Rica?
Currently there are 11 Conservation Areas which are:
1. Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACDG)
2. Tempisque Conservation Area (ACT)
3. Arenal Tempisque Conservation Area (ACAT)
4. Pacífico Central Conservation Area (ACOPAC)
5. Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area (ACA-HN)
6. Cordillera Volcánica Central Conservation Area (ACCVC)
7. Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTo)
8. La Amistad Caribe Conservation Area (ACLA-C)
9. La Amistad Pacífico Conservation Area (ACLA-P)
10. Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA)
11. Isla del Coco Conservation Area (ACMIC)
What is a Protected Wilderness Area?
It is a defined / delimited geographical area, comprising land, wetlands and portions of sea. It has been declared as such to represent special significance for their ecosystems, the existence of endangered species, the impact on reproduction and other needs and their historical and cultural significance.
What are the management categories of Protected Wilderness Area?
Biological Reserve: "essentially unchanged area containing ecosystems, features or species of flora and fauna extremely vulnerable, where ecological processes have been able to follow its natural course with minimal human interference, it is only for research / develop and education "
National Park: "area with individual character traits of national or international interest. The area should include representative samples of ecosystems of national significance, show little evidence of human activity, offer important attractions for visitors and the capacity for recreational use and education in a controlled manner"
National Monument: "area that has a cultural resource, whether historical or archaeological outstanding, of national and international importance because of its unique characteristics or special interest"
Wildlife Refuge: "It is an area that, due its geographical conditions, special ecosystems and diverse or unique biodiversity, the Executive declared it as such, for protection and research of flora and fauna, especially those that are in danger of extinction”
Wetlands: "dependent aquatic ecosystem, natural or artificial, permanent or temporary regimes, brackish or salt, including marine extensions to the rear limit of seagrasses or coral reefs or, in its absence, up to six meters deep at low tide."
Biological Corridor: "territorial extension, usually privately owned, whose main function is to connect protected wilderness areas to allow both migration and dispersion of flora and fauna, ensuring their conservation"
Protected Zone: "area of forests and lands suitable for forestry, where the main goal is soil protection, regulation of hydrological regime and environmental conservation and watershed"
How protected areas meet the needs of society?
As an instrument of development through participatory planning, information and education, cooperation and local benefits.
Ecosystems areas should include a range of uses from full protection of fragile areas to the ones of multiple purpose for various groups and interests.
The protected areas provide the companies a large number of economic, cultural, educational and spiritual benefits. These areas fulfill regulatory functions of the climate, the atmosphere and the oceans, protect watersheds, and coastal and soil erosion. Provide genetic, medicinal and ornamental resources. Conducive to recreation and tourism and provide educational and scientific information.
For managers of protected areas the past challenge was to understand the functions of ecosystems and find the best way to handle various wildlife habitats. Today's challenges include how to determine the economic value. It should strengthen the traditional approach to protection and introduce new approaches that help ensure a sustainable future.