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    Costa Rica’s protected areas will get $56 million boost

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    San Jose, Costa Rica – To meet UN goals in protected areas, Costa Rica will receive nearly $56 million in donations and debt write-offs to expand conservation programs in its forest and marine habitats.

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    Costa Rica will use the funds to increase its protected tropical forests from 25 percent of its national territory – 3.2 million acres – to 26 percent, which doesn’t sound like much, but represents 32,000 acres more in protected areas.

    This effort is to meet Costa Rica’s commitments on environmental protection under the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity by 2015.

    Known for its incredible eco-tourism industry, Costa Rica also hopes to triple its protected territorial waters.

    U.S. Ambassador Anne Andrew said. “Costa Rica is a global leader in conservation, and this agreement today is an important investment to continue the expansion and protection of the incredible biodiversity found in Costa Rican forests.”

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