San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Environment Report: Not One Habitat Unharmed

Human impact has left an indelible footprint on Costa Rica’s biodiversity, and not a single habitat has been spared.

That is according to the 2nd National Climate Change Communication report released Monday.

“All of the country’s ecosystems have suffered changes in structure and composition as a result of human actions,” the report says, adding that clouds that once crowded Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve are disappearing because of deforestation.

Also, the report says several species of trees in the jungle in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí on the Caribbean recorded smaller  trunk sizes between 1984 and 2000 as a result of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and fewer female caimans have been hatching in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, near the Nicaraguan border, due in part to a drop in rainfall.

“It’s evident that pollution, overexploitation of resources and changes of natural land coverage by human beings  have provoked changes to the integrity of ecosystems … and in the quality of services

these ecosystems offer to human beings,” the report states.

Although the 160-page document says that certain measures can be implemented to mitigate habitat damage caused by humans, it does not offer concrete actions nor provide mandatory solutions.

A news release from the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET) claims that the report “shows the advances in fundamental areas for development and biodiversity protection such as the National Climate Change Strategy.”

That strategy, a MINAET regimen released this year, offers suggestions to public and private entities for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that contribute to climate change. The suggestions are completely voluntary and the plan does not propose any policy fixes.

–Mike McDonald

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