These weeks the name of Costa Rica appears in the media in the country and the world.On Sunday 17 October, the country was awarded with the recognition of Earthshot Prize, in the category ” To protect and restore nature”.
This award is awarded for the first time by the Royal Foundation with the aim of making visible the successful projects that work on the regeneration of the planet and continuing to encourage change over the next ten years – a crucial decade for the Earth.
Costa Rica won this important recognition for its Payment for Environmental Services (PES) program, which began in 1997. It remunerates forest owners in exchange for protecting them with different preservation schemes. The award also comes with a cash prize of one million pounds, equivalent to ¢ 863 million, for the Government of Costa Rica.
Recent figures from the World Bank show that Costa Rica increased its forest cover from 47% in 2000 to 59% in 2020 with this program.
“We will invest resources in replicating and strengthening these models in marine conservation; We know that we must be diligent and act now to counteract the impacts of climate change, or the effects will be irreversible”, said president Carlos Alvarado.
Without a doubt, this will be a new opportunity to project the country in the international market and position ourselves as a destination for conservation and regeneration. This opens a window for us to attract tourists who are motivated by nature tourism and by learning about more environmentally friendly practices.
We invite Costa Ricans and residents to feel proud of this award – which puts the eyes of the world on this small country, proving that it can reverse deforestation. It gives a vote of confidence in the development model of Costa Rica, that even with our challenges, we are on the right track.
What about Nosara?
Our community has been a pioneer in reforestation. Since the 1980s, more than 10 years before the Government’s PES program began, Nosara had already been protecting and promoting reforestation. Today the Nosara Civic Association owns 250 hectares of forest that we proudly protect exclusively for the conservation of flora and fauna.
At one time, these lands were bare pastures, but today, thanks to the work of the NCA, they are secondary forests, which, according to the National University, capture an average of 7.8 tons of carbon per hectare per year. To date, each hectare of forest in the Association stores 251 tons of carbon.
Thanks to these wooded properties, Nosara stands out over many coastal destinations in the country, that have seen real estate growth reduce natural spaces.
The combination of the coastal Ostional National Wildlife Refuge, the NCA private reserve, and other community members conservation efforts, attracts hundreds of tourists and many new residents annually, who fall in love with the lush nature of the place; this is coupled with the fact that they long to be part of a community that truly manages to coexist with nature. We really are an example of model development based on nature.
How much does it cost to maintain the forests of Nosara?
The Nosara Civic Association needs everyone’s help to continue taking care of these unique spaces. Our hope is that our parks can be included in the PSA program; however, we must deal with problems of double-titled estates due to registry entanglements or even attempted robberies. Fortunately, for several years the NCA Board of Directors has been working so that the properties are released and without any administrative warning – thus guaranteeing that these lands will remain dedicated to conservation.
To give you context of what this means, so far this year we have invested a little over $ 10,000 in new plans. This represents the hiring of professional surveyors to address titling issues.
Each year, the NCA allocates more than $ 37,000 to this effort. This pays for signage and materials for the property fences, garbage collection for the trash that is dumped on our lands, and salaries for employees to maintain them – plus the cost of their social charges -and liability insurance.
We want to make a call for the neighbors of the Nosara community to become ambassadors for our protected areas. We not only want you to help us with donations, we want you to tell your family and friends what it means for a non-profit organization to protect 250 hectares.
We also want you to be guardians of our lands. Call, write or notify us by social networks whenever you see someone entering our properties to litter, cut trees, extract plants or ruin fences.
We work tirelessly for a Nosara where the welfare of all living beings continues to be valued, a model to be followed by other communities. But for that, we need you.