The case of Costa Rica is an inspiring example that confirms that well-planned reforestation does work.
A good reforestation plan is not achieved only with good intentions, it requires planned and well-executed actions. It is not just about planting trees, they are beings of immense complexity, which need very specific conditions to develop.
Mass reforestation is possible,and Costa Rica is an inspiring example
Today, the Caribbean country has twice as many forests as it did in the 90s of the last century. As the United Nations University indicates, in 1940 Costa Rica had 75% of tropical forests, in areas usually inhabited by indigenous people, but in the following decades they were devastated. Various agricultural activities and the excessive extraction of natural resources meant that by 1983, only 26% of the territory still had forests.
Costa Rica is on the way to recoverall lost forests
According to the World Bank, Costa Rica has achieved the greatest recovery of forest ecosystems that any other tropical country has ever had. But how did they do it? They began the plan with a key strategy, protecting what was left standing, safeguarding ecosystems from deforestation, an activity that declined until it reached zero in 1998.
The implementation of this strategy was possible through reward mechanisms for those who provide environmental services, which are known as “payments for environmental services”, which has also reduced poverty in rural areas and strengthened indigenous communities.
The success of Costa Rica resides, according to the United Nations University, in three factors: ethics, environmentalism and effective public policies. Three factors that many governments should adopt as central axes of all planning, since as the president of Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado has rightly said, caring for the environment is "the great task of our generation."
In Costa Rica it is clear that the only way to sustain a country is to make it sustainable. The economy of this country now revolves around the conservation of ecosystems and the fight against climate change, which has led it to generate all its energy from renewable sources, as well as to implement effective policies for the care of the forests - which encourages tourism, one of its economic pillars, according to FAO. These, among other actions, show that a shared future with a healthy environment is possible.