Climate Change is Taking its Toll on Cahuita’s Biodiversity

Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica is a good example of how the global warming is affecting the seashores.

Marcos Sánchez, one of the best biologists of Costa Rica, was interviewed after a conference held in a hotel at Cahuita National Park. In the interview, he explained that many tree species are expected to disappear from the park. The guide says that the sea will come forward impacting the habitat since it has already flooded the pathways and the sewers of an old pier, which is now only a vantage point for the visitors.

The sea tide has always come in and gone out but this time, things look different according to the climatic models. Cahuita seashore, in Southern Costa Rica, has lost between 30 and 50 meters of beach in the last four decades.

Mario Cerdas, the National Park manager claims that the sea level has been rising consistently.

“It’s true that the seashores evolve naturally and the water sweeps away the sand, but we have been losing terrain, and that’s our concern” – says Mario Cerdas, who’s been working in Cahuita for 20 years.

The violent waves have torn down a lot of trees on the seashore. High tides have destroyed the biggest trees of the place. As a result, 1,067 hectares of forest have been devastated and 600 coral reefs have vanished into thin air. The scenery is changing as expected.

“Beach loss leads to the habitat reduction of animals like the sea turtles. It can also cause terrible changes in the ecosystems, sedimentation in the coral reefs, ocean acidification and seawater warming” – explained Gina Cuza, director of the Costa Rican National System for the Environmental Preservation.

Cahuita has lost up to 50 meters of shore in the last 4 decades, 25 meters in 10 years.

Global Issue

It’s a global phenomenon because it’s occurring in many beaches worldwide. According to the World Perspective on the Biological Diversity, there have been variations in the flowering period, migration patterns and the animal reproduction.

“These variations can alter the normal reproduction of the species, unbalancing the ecosystems, which leads to a synchronized interdependence, for example, the nesting season and the search of food, pollination, and fertilization. Rivers, lakes, coral reefs, dry lands, and rainforests are vulnerable to the impact of the global warming” – explained Alfred Hansj Grunwaldt, who works for the Interamerican Bank in the Global Warming department.

The struggle against the global problem is not the responsibility of a small country with a population of no more than 4.6 million habitants; it’s a problem that concerns everybody. The governments should create plans to mitigate the greenhouse effects as soon as possible.

For this reason, some organizations are currently taking some action to address the situation since Cahuita is considered the most affected park in the country. There are projects underway, one of which is the construction of a breakwater to keep the sea back off the sea, and the preservation strategy of the coral reefs in an artificial environment.

This yellow snake is one of the endemic species of Cahuita National Park

Undoubtedly, something must be done urgently because of the high sea. They ruins of an old hotel are now under water. The residents had no more choice but to build other accommodation facilities farther from the seashore, however, the sea waves are threatening again to swallow up the new inn.

“We know that the sea will cover many other facilities in a few years. Tourism is the storehouse of money for our economy; we receive at least 100,000 visitors per year. We feel bound to find a quick response to keep this place as attractive as ever” – explains the manager of the administration building.

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