Is Costa Rica Truly Conservation Minded?

From the Environmental Review Newsletter Volume Two Number Three: March 1995


Dr. J. Robert Hunter has spent over forty years in the tropics, much of it studying tropical agriculture, forestry, land use and conservation. He received the Ph.D in agronomy from Michigan State University in 1951 and is now a Fellow in the Herbarium of the Botany Department of the University of Wisconsin.

     In his article in Conservation Biology, Dr. Hunter pointed out some of the realities of present-day Costa Rica which belie the idea that Costa Rica is a model for conservation and environmental awareness. Such realities include: natural resource depletion and unsustainable agriculture, deforestation and habitat destruction, dubious reforestation schemes, gold mining in the Corcovado National Park; and a human population that has increased five fold since 1950. It is clear in speaking with Dr. Hunter that it is out of concern for Costa Rica and its people that he points out the unpleasant facts; that despite public relations to the contrary, all is not well in that Central American country.

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