QCOSTARICA – When National Parks Day (Día de los Parques Nacionales) was celebrated this Tuesday, Costa Rica ratified its conservationist commitment by announcing the constitution of the ninth biological reserve.
There are 5,075 hectares (ha) in Coto Brus, in Puntarenas south, an area that will be called the Reserva Biológica del Bicentenario de la República-Pájaro Campana (Biological Reserve of the Bicentennial of the Republic-Pájaro Campana).
The category of biological reserve falls on an area without alteration by human cause, which from now on will have a special level of care, Casa Presidencial announced in a statement.
In this way, the third-largest biological reserve in Costa Rica was born.
The largest are the Reserva Biológica Hitoy Cerere (in Talamanca, Limón), with 9,978 ha, and the Alberto Manuel Brenes (San Ramón, Alajuela), with 7,800 ha.
Also under this category are Isla del Caño, Isla Guayabo, Isla Negritos and Isla Pájaros on the Pacific coast with smaller extensions of between three and 325 hectares.
Finally, there is Lomas de Barbudal in Bagaces (Guanacaste), of 2,600 ha and Cerro Las Vueltas in the area of Los Santos (San José), with 793 ha.
From now on, the new Biological Reserve of the Bicentennial of the Republic – Pájaro Campana will maintain the minimum of human interference to protect its integrity as a virgin natural zone rich in ecosystems, whose characteristics and species of flora and fauna are extremely vulnerable, the statement added.
The new reserve results from a cut in the Las Tablas Protective Zone, created in 1981, which until the beginning of the year comprised 19,600 ha, according to decree No. 42615-MINAE of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae), published in February in La Gaceta, the official government newsletter.
As a biological reserve, it is intended that the ecological processes in these 5,075 hectares follow their natural course without interference after confirming there the presence of three types of forest (very humid premontane, very humid lower montane and pluvial montane) that support ecosystems and biodiversity of high scientific interest and for conservation purposes.
According to the decree published in February, among the endangered species, there are communities of tapirs (Tapirus bairdii), which are considered the largest wild mammal in Central America.
In addition, it has six species of national wild cats such as the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), caucel (Leopardus wiedii), tigrillo (Leopardus tigrinus), jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), and yaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi).
Finally, it has birds whose presence denotes well-preserved forests such as quetzals (Pharomachrus mocinno) and bell birds (Procnias tricarunculata).
To ensure all this natural wealth, administrators and park rangers of the La Amistad Pacífico Conservation Area received protective equipment, two ATVs and uniforms from Government authorities as part of their new tasks to protect this area, whose management plan was worked on jointly with the organization Costa Rica Forever.
This block of forested land would allow expanding the connectivity and ecological integrity of
other protected wild areas that surround it, such as the World Heritage Site Reserves of the Cordillera de Talamanca and the La Amistad International Park.
The administration and protection of the new biological reserve will correspond to the Minae, through the National System of Conservation Areas, specifically to the La Amistad Pacífico Conservation Area.
The regional director of the La Amistad Pacífico Conservation Area, Ronald Chan, explained that over time, the concept of “Shared Park / Community Responsibilities” has been developed and strengthened, under which the communities surrounding the protected wild areas have been able to identify different ecosystem services that have served as a fundamental principle for the creation and innovation of responsible uses.
“This allows the conservation of these ecosystems while the communities perceive economic and environmental benefits. Chirripó National Park represents the scenic beauty of these mountain ecosystems, which generates immense satisfaction when ascending the peaks. We celebrate the signing of the decree to expand this Protected Wilderness Area,” said Chan.
The “páramos” of Costa Rica are important areas from the point of view of biodiversity conservation on a continental level.
In Costa Rica and Panama, these ecosystems are home to about 71% of the families of flowering plants recorded for the páramos of America, approximately 50% of the genera and 15% of the species. In addition, they are important areas for their endemism.