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Costa Rica’s most important natural resources are productive soil, virgin wilderness, and plentiful water and mineral resources. We are a Central American nation considered one of the countries with the greatest proportional diversity of living organisms on the planet, since within an area of 51,100 km2, only 0.03% of the earth’s surface, it is home to 5% of all living species on the planet.

Geographically located between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica shares its borders with Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Also having among its territory the Cocos Island, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1997, and which is located about 550 kilometers from the Pacific coast. With approximately 1,300 kilometers of coastline, the country can boast an undeniable tourist attraction, with beach lovers indulging in two coasts.

Bioregions of Costa Rica.

There are distinguishable five bioregions in the country, which are defined by elevation and climatic conditions. These are:

–Pacifico Norte (PN), with annual rainfall between 1,000 and 2,000mm and temperatures between 18 and 34 ° C.

-Pacifico Sur which has slightly lower rainfall and higher temperatures compared to the PN. –Vertiente Caribe, defined by persistent rainfall throughout the year and high temperatures, which produce high humidity.

–Tierras Medias, at elevations between 700 and 1700 meters above sea level, characterized by cool temperatures ranging between 18 and 30 ° C.

–Tierras Altas, at elevations greater than 1700 meters above sea level where we find cloud forests and colder temperatures.

The great biological diversity of Costa Rica is due to its position between two large landmasses, its irregular topography, and its tropical climate.

Plant Life.

It is estimated that this country has about 11,000 species of plants, of which 10,000 were already known in 2018. Besides, 1,239 species of butterflies, 205 species of mammals, 850 species of birds and more than 100,000 species of invertebrates have been recorded. The Guanacaste tree and the Guaria Morada orchid are patriotic symbols.

Animal Life.

It has more than 500,000 species, and about 300,000 of these are insects. Also, 1,239 species of butterflies, 205 species of mammals, 850 species of birds and more than 100,000 species of invertebrates have been recorded.

Species present in Costa Rica.

The national bird is the “Yegüero”, also called the meadow thrush, which is found throughout the territory, and whose whistle announces the wet season. The harlequin frog: critically endangered species, that amphibian can only be found in Quepos, Costa Rica. The sloth, emblematic animals of Costa Rica. A factor that gives even more importance to Costa Rica’s wildlife is the fact that much of the species present are threatened or endangered.

Main natural resources of Costa Rica.

Coffee plants

Land use. Costa Rica’s main agricultural products are bananas, coffee, sugar, and beef. Agroforestry is commonly practiced by combining one or more crops such as coffee (Cafe Arabia L.), cocoa (Theobrorna cacao L.), or sugarcane (Sacharan ctvs. L.) with the shade of native trees to increase yield and improve soil conditions (Somarraba and Bree, 1987). As for livestock, the main product of Costa Rica is cattle.

As of 2018, there are a total of 95,000 agricultural farms, of which 40,000 have cattle destined for meat production (42.1%), milk production (25.6%) and dual-purpose (32%). It should be noted that the livestock sector contributes 28.59% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Ecotourism.

The most prominent direct environmental benefit of ecotourism is its incentive value for the preservation of natural and semi-natural environments. Currently, Costa Rica has more than two dozen national parks, reserves and wildlife refuges distributed throughout the country. Costa Rica has had a huge expansion in ecotourism since the visit of foreign tourists to Costa Rica’s national parks increased by almost 500 percent. Flora.

Volcanoes.

Being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Costa Rica has more than 200 volcanic structures, of which five are currently active; they are called Turrialba, Irazú, Poas, Arenal, and Rincon de la Vieja.

Hydrography.

Numerous streams of water run through the country, due to the combination between its mountainous regions and heavy rains. San Juan, the largest river in Costa Rica, measures 240 kilometers and delimits part of the border with Nicaragua.

Wilderness protected areas.

The protected areas of Costa Rica have been very important in the current development of the country since they have encouraged tourism. They have also provided eco-systemic services through the conservation of native ecosystems, have improved infrastructure in remote areas, have provided opportunities for environmental education and have led to poverty reduction in surrounding communities.

Energy.

Costa Rica does not currently produce oil, and apart from minor deposits of coal, no other fossil fuel sources have been discovered. However, Costa Rica is in one of the rainiest areas of the planet and the water resources of the abundant rains have allowed the construction of several hydroelectric plants, which has made it self-sufficient in all its energy needs, except petroleum products.

Mining.

The first historical gold mining recorded was in 1820 in the Esparza and Montes de Aguacate mining district. The first systematic exploitation of gold was presented in Rio Carate in 1978. In the Santa Elena mine, lead and silver were produced until 1933. Gold mining is one of the most destructive and polluting activities, which is why in 2002 Costa Rica, banned the exploitation of new open-pit gold mines.

In conclusion, Costa Rica is a country that has opted for more sustainable development through eco-tourism and the preservation of its natural resources. However, it still has many challenges ahead, such as the protection of its threatened species and the recovery of many natural areas fragmented by past bad practices.

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