Costa Rica currently has three biosphere reserves: La Amistad, Cordillera Volcánica Central and Agua y Paz; now it is trying to get a fourth one: Savegre River.
What is a biosphere reserve? According to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), these are “areas of terrestrial and coastal ecosystems which promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use; Science for Sustainability support sites’ – special places for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity”.
There are currently 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries.
The three in Costa Rica were recognized as such in 1982 (La Amistad), 1988 the Cordillera Volcánica Central (Central Volcanic Mountain Range) and in 2007 Agua y Paz (Water and Peace, which encompasses the Juan Castro Blanco National Park, the Caño Negro Refuge, four biological corridors and an indigenous community).
According to Alejandra Loría, anthropologist from the National Commission of Biodiversity Management, the proposal of Savegre River is different, since it includes the catchment area as a whole, from where it originates in the Cerro de la Muerte mountain to the rivermouth in the Pacific Ocean, therefore it will include even marine area of Manuel Antonio National Park. A total of 312,914 hectares (terrestrial and marine).
This territory includes four counties, Dota, Tarrazú, Pérez Zeledón and Aguirre; seven wildlife protected areas and three biological corridors.
“Some of the characteristics are, the large biodiversity, quality and quantity of the water sources, and that the main economic activities (tourism and agriculture) are based on the richness of the existing areas”, established the Association Friends of Nature of the Central and South Pacific (ASANA).
“A biosphere reserve translates into an international recognition of the territory and the efforts in finding a balance between conservation of the biodiversity and the socioeconomic development. This mechanism is ideal for Savegre since it does not impose additional limitations, and contributes to unite efforts inside and outside the protected wildlife areas, between the communities, the organizations, the international organisms and the different Government institutions”, states ASANA in the press release.
The verdict of UNESCO will be given in June.