Reversing Deforestation in Costa Rica

2000sCosta Rica

"Over the past quarter-century, the small Central American country of Costa Rica has reversed its trend of deforestation, moving from high rates of forest loss up until the 1990s to substantial recovery since then....In recent years, Costa Rica has set itself a new and ambitious goal: to become a carbon-neutral country, with at least 100 percent of its global warming emissions balanced by carbon sequestration, by the year 2021. Part of Costa Rica's success thus far in moving toward this goal has come from favorable social and economic circumstances, but specific policies have also made important contributions. They include the promotion of ecotourism, large-scale expansion of protected areas and publicly owned forests, and an early program of payment for ecosystem services (PES) that has formed the basis for the country's current leadership on REDD+. These policies have not always worked out as planned...But taken together, they have transformed the country's attitudes toward its land and natural resources in just a few decades, making the goal of carbon neutrality not only feasible but also a further source of national pride."

"Deforestation Success Stories, Tropical Nations Where Forest Protection and Reforestation Policies Have Worked," Union of Concerned Scientists, June 2014.

Courtesy of the The World Factbook