Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lost forest coverage recovered

Monteverde cloud forest(La Nacion) - Today, half of Costa Rica has forest coverage, thanks to the fact that in the last 20 years the country recovered an area equivalent to 10 percent of the territory. This fact is confirmed by images analyzed by the National Forest Financing Fund and the University of Alberta, Canada.

Back in 1960, 70 percent of the territory of Costa Rica had forest coverage but, in the following three decades, acute deforestation lowered the forested area to 40 percent by 1986.

The forest loss recorded in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s was prompted by certain agricultural development policies, said Arturo Sanchez, director of the Scientific Center of Terrestrial Observation of the University of Alberta. According to the National Forest Financing Fund, it was in the 90s when the trend was reversed.

Fund director Jorge Rodriguez points out that half of the forested area is in private hands and that it would increase further if there were money enough to pay the owners for preserving standing forest and letting land regenerate without man’s intervention. He pointed out that the $14 million budget for this year was not enough to pay more land owners who wanted to join the program.

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