Federal Environment Ministry promotes conservation of Costa Rica's unique biodiversity

Lizard climbing up a tree

Picture: Cyro Jose Soares

The successful cooperation with Costa Rica on climate change and biological diversity is being further expanded. The Federal Environment Ministry is providing up to EUR 6 million in support to a new project for the conservation of Costa Rica's unique natural environment and biodiversity.

Due to its efforts to protect biodiversity, Costa Rica has been playing a special role in nature conservation. It has set itself the goal of becoming one of the first countries to achieve the objectives laid out in the Strategic Plan of the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Costa Rica is home to a multitude of different microclimates and a wealth of diverse ecosystems. While this small country is roughly only the size of Denmark, it is among the world's 20 most biodiverse countries.

Costa Rica has recognised the benefits of protecting nature. Its rich natural environment and biodiversity attracts roughly 1.5 million tourists every year. A good quarter of the country is currently under general nature conservation (biological reserves, national parks, conservation areas). Roughly 160 protected areas are spread across the entire country, covering coastal areas, islands, rainforests, cloud forests, dry forests, volcanoes, reliefs, rivers and waterfalls.

One challenge is linking all these areas. This is very important for the survival of many species, because certain animals migrate every year during the dry and rainy seasons. Many other species within isolated habitats are threatened by climate change. Linking different biotopes will create migratory corridors and enable species to move into new areas.

Costa Rica is therefore working on improving the links between biotopes within the context of the national biocorridor programme. Under the framework of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the project is supporting Costa Rica to achieve this goal. Partners are developing guidelines and procedures for designating ecological corridors and identifying conservation measures. In order to guarantee the sustainable impact of these activities, local governments, communities, the private sector, agricultural producers and forest owners are being brought into the planning process, and sustainable financing instruments are being developed for implementing activities.