Community-based Conservation in Costa Rica draft 3

This topic submitted by Marcy Bauer ( at 11:10 PM on 4/1/04.

This stingray seems to be flying at Molasses Reef, Key Largo, Florida.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Community-based Conservation in Costa Rica:
Costa Rica is a small, beautiful country with a relatively stable democracy in place. Home to several types of forests, as well as mangroves, wetlands, and volcanoes, Costa Rica has a rich biodiversity of life that is protected under 30 national parks, refuges and reserves; in all, 27% of the country is under some sort of environmental protection or reserve (2). With its incredible biodiversity and stable, environmental-minded government, Costa Rica has garnered the attention of conservationists worldwide. This sort of attention has the potential to bring mixed results, with respect to both the indigenous populations as well as the natural systems intended for protection.

I. Background of Costa Rican Conservation Efforts
A. Politics and the environment
B. National Park System

II. Community-based Conservation
A. Conceptual Overview
B. Applications on Costa Rica
1. drawbacks and advantages
2. examples of successful community-based methods
(a) ecotourism?
(b) indigenous park rangers/managers

III. Comparison of community-based methods to conventional and historical conservation methods
A. [brief] overview of conventional/historical methods
1. focus mainly on species or isolated habitat
2. outsiders (their $$) drive the scope
B. Comparison
1. Effects of conventional methods
(a) indigenous population
(i) displacement and marginalization
(ii) economics
(iii) lost cultural resources
(b) environmental effects
2. Effects of community-based methods
(a) indigenous population
(b) environmental effects

IV. Closing comments

1 - The World Fact Book, web site located at, accessed on 4 March 2004.

2 - Costa Rican National Chamber of Tourism, Ecotourism: A Natural History, web site located at accessed on 4 March 2004.

3 – Donovan, Richard, BOSCOSA: Forest Conservation and Management through Local Institutions (Costa Rica), Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-based Conservation, edited by Western, David; Wright, Michael; Strum, Shirley, Washington, D.C., Island Press, c1994 (call no: QH75.A1 N337 1994)

4 – Allen, William, Green Phoenix: Restoring the Tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Oxford University Press, 2001.

5 –Washing Hands with Soil: Restoring Forest and Land in Costa Rica, Forests for the future: local strategies for forest protection, economic welfare and social justice, edited by Wolvekamp, Paul et al., Zed Books, 1999 (call no: SD373 .F63 1999 )

6 – Paaby, Pia and Clark, David, Conservation and Local Naturalist Guide Traning Programs in Costa Rica, Conserving wildlife: international education and communication approaches, edited by Jacobson, Susan, Columbia University Press, 1995 (call no: QL83.15 .C65 1995 )

7 – Evans, Sterling, The Green Republic: A Conservation History of Costa Rica, University of Texas Press, 1999, 1st edition.

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