Years of unchecked logging laid waste to two-thirds of Costa Rica’s tree canopy, leaving its tropical rainforests facing an uncertain future. But the trees have returned and the resurrected forests support a thriving eco-tourism industry.
Towards the middle of the 20th century, indigenous woodland – predominantly tropical rainforest – covered all but a quarter of the country. But then the loggers arrived. The forests were cleared as crews of lumberjacks freely converted Costa Rica’s natural resources into profits.
By the early 1980s, the destruction of two-thirds of the forests had ravaged the habitats of indigenous creatures. Following decades of decline, an unusual thing happened. The rate of deforestation slowed and eventually dropped to zero, and over time the trees began to return.
What caused this dramatic reversal of fortune? The simple answer is that Costa Rica began to realize the potential of its rich ecosystems and set about safeguarding them. Policy-makers restricted the number of logging permits and created a national forestry commission to police forest activity.
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How Costa Rica doubled the size of its rainforest in just a generation – reversing environmental destruction, helping nature and wildlife, benefitting people’s wellbeing, tackling #climatechange, and creating jobs too 🌳pic.twitter.com/e9nTOui594
— Green Adventures (@GreenTravelMag) August 22, 2020
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