Dylan Brown offers some insight into NGO conservation through eco-tourism initiatives. This will be the first of a multi-part series on Costa Rica, a destination near & dear to Karma Trekkers.
I have conducted an independent study regarding all or most of the non-profit/non-governmental conservation and ecotourism organizations (NGOs (non-governmental organizations)) in the country of Costa Rica. The reasons for my conducting this independent study is to deepen understanding of how these organizations operate, so that this understanding can be applied to other parts of the world where these conservation initiatives are much needed. The reason for choosing the country of Costa Rica for this study is because this country seems to be leading all of the world’s countries in these kinds of NGO conservation through eco-tourism initiatives.
Fifteen of these conservation/ecotourism NGOs in Costa Rica were located. They are: The Organization For Tropical Studies, Tirimbina Research Center, Tropical Science Center, Monteverde Conservation League, Costa Rica Conservation Foundation, ATEC (The Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation), Ecopreservation Society, ANAI (Talamanca Environmental Association), The Fund For Costa Rica, Caribbean Conservation Corporation, FUNDECOR (Fundacion para el Desarollo de la Cordillera Volcanica Central), ADELA, The Buenos Aires Group and Cedarena. Each has its individual purpose and business model, but all are fundamentally the same, non-profit, non-governmental conservation and eco-tourism organizations. The most transparent of these thirteen organizations is the Organization for Tropical Studies, with a thorough annual report on their website.
The Organization for Tropical Studies owns and operates three different biological field stations in three different regions of Costa Rica: La Selva is located in the Caribbean lowlands of Northern Costa Rica and is comprised of 1,600 hectares of Premontane Wet Forest Habitat; Las Cruces is located along a spur of the Filos Cruces pacific coastal range in Coto Brus county in southern Costa Rica and is comprised of 300 hectares of Premontane Wet Forest Habitat; and Palo Verde is located within the Palo Verde National Park on the Pacific slopes of the Guanacaste province in Northwestern Costa Rica, and is composed of 19,000 hectares of Tropical Dry Forest and wetland Habitat. Tirimbina Research Center is located in the Sarapaqui canton of the Heredia province in Northern Costa Rica and is comprised of 345 hectares of Premontane Wet Forest habitat.
The Tropical Science Center is located in San Jose, but owns and administers the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve which is located on the Pacific slopes of Northwestern Costa Rica and is comprised of 10,500 hectares of Tropical Cloud Forest habitat. The Monteverde Conservation League is located in the same region as the previous, but administers to the adjacent land that is called The Children’s Eternal Rainforest which is comprised of 554 hectares of Tropical Cloud Forest Habitat. The Costa Rica Conservation Foundation is also located in the Monteverde region, but is located in the lowland area of the region that is considered Tropical Rain Shadow Forest habitat. ATEC has offices in Puerto Viejo but most of its work is located in the city of Limon in the Talamanca canton of Costa Rica. ANAI is also located and does its work in the Talamanca canton and is mostly concerned with “biomonitoring” and education of the region.
The Ecopreservation Society is a younger organization with offices in the cities of San Jose and Quepos, and looks to do most of its initial work in the Manuel Antonio National Park region in the central west coast of Costa Rica. The Fund for Costa Rica is located and also works within the Manuel Antonio National Park on the central west coast of Costa Rica. The Caribbean Conservation Corporation is an international organization that has its headquarters in Gainesville, FL US and is involved with the protection and conservation of sea turtles and their habitat worldwide, but does most of their work in Costa Rica in the small village of Tortuguero, near the Port of Limon on the Caribbean coast. ADELA is located in the city of Limon on the Caribbean coast and works to inform and educate the Caribbean community about the risks that the oil industry poses to the Caribbean and Costa Rica. FUNDECOR is located in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and is composed of approximately 40,000 hectares in this region. The Buenos Aires Group is a consortium of conservation and ecotourism NGOs throughout Latin America including Costa Rica, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and mostly concerning the conservation and ecotourism of marine mammals. Cedarena has offices in San Jose, but was the organization with the least public information to research, therefore I am lacking in information on this organization.
Stay tuned for the next part of my series.