Each day the sunrises and we begin our daily grind, we inevitably will be in touch with the ecology that surround us. When we run the water to brush our teeth and take our showers, when we get in our vehicles and drive to work, when we come home and check our email on our computers, when we call our friends on our cell phones, and when we dispose of our trash throughout our day.
Ecology is the study of our earth – it’s relationships with organisms and their environment, and how those relationships affect the planet. There is a lot we can do as a species to help our environment sustain itself. And a great way to begin is to get educated.
Costa Rica Ecology / The Basics
The republic of Costa Rica as it is officially known is located in Central America and is bordered in the north by Nicaragua, to the east and south lies Panama, the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, and the Caribbean ocean to the east.
The rich coast which is the English rendering of “Costa Rica” has been a consistent top Latin country in the Human Development Index where it ranked 50th. In the listings for the Environmental Performance Index it ranks 1st in the Americas and 5th in the world. In 2007 the announcement was made by the costar Rican government of their intention to make it the first carbon neutral country by the year 2021.
The New Economics foundation ranks this country as no.1 in the Happy Planets Index and is considered to be the greenest country on the Earth. The HPI is a measure of a country’s consumption of natural capital and the longevity of their inhabitants as a result.
Costa Rica Ecology / Tourism
Tourism is one of Costa Rica’s main dollar earners and is also the country’s major focus. This country is now in favor with green minded tourists or eco-travelers. Costa Rica is fiercely committed to the concepts and ideals of sustainability and conservation.
Costa Rica has reinvented and packaged itself as a unique travel destination that can enriches and widens your horizons while promoting individual health and environmental and ecological harmony. In fact during recent years some of their top travel and service providers have been given recognition for planet positive tour packages.
Costa Rica Ecology / Plants and Animals
Costa Rica has a huge variety of plants and animals. The country’s total landmass is only 0.1 percent of the world’s total but it has 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Costa Rica has one of the largest protected areas in the world having about 25 percent in national parks and other protected areas.
Costa Rica has 12 life zones all different from each other. Each of these life zones is named according to the type of forest and its altitude. There dry, wet, moist rainforests that are also classified as premontane, montane, and subalpine. In one classification there may be many types of habitat within one tropical life zone. This means that this extensive variety if habitats contain unique groupings of flora and fauna.
Conservation and Sustainability
In spite of the country’s strong advocacy for conservation and sustainability Costa Rica still has a major problem with deforestation. The natural vegetation of Costa Rica was nearly total forest but a large percentage of this forested area was cleared and is being used for agriculture.
The UN Agriculture and Food Organization has estimated the rate of loss during the period spanning 1973 to 1989 at 2.3 percent per year. There has been a large improvement in the amount of forest clearing over the recent years but deforestation is continuing and very little forest exists outside of the national parks and protected areas.
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