Costa Rica //

Biodiversity under protection

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Despite its small size, Costa Rica possesses no less than five percent of the world’s total biodiversity, in part due to its position as a transition zone between temperate North and tropical South America, and also thanks to its complex system of interlocking micro-climates, created by differences in topography and altitude. This biological abundance (which includes over 885 species of birds and a quarter of the world’s known butterflies) is now safeguarded by one of the world’s most enlightened and dedicated conservation programmes – about 25 percent of Costa Rica’s land is protected, most of it through the country’s extensive system of national parks and wildlife refuges.

Costa Rica’s national parks range from the tropical jungle lowlands of Corcovado to the grassy volcanic uplands of Rincón de la Vieja, an impressive and varied range of terrain that has enhanced the country’s popularity with eco-tourists. Outside the park system, however, land is assailed by deforestation – ironically, there are now no more significant patches of forest left anywhere in the country outside of protected areas.

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