Costa Rica: The Government’s successful decision to increase protected areas and forest cover, in line with and support of eco-tourism.

The Republic of Costa Rica maintains a total area of 51,100 km2 and a coastline of 1,290 km2. While the small country makes up about 0.003% of Earth’s land, it is home to roughly 5% of the world’s (known) species. Costa Rica’s name, literally meaning “Rich Coast,” continually lives up to its flourishing ecosystems that are blooming with flora and fauna, as visitors flock to experience the country’s surreal ‘richness.’ The impressive biodiversity is attributed to its many microclimates and unique geography, which allow for a vast array of ecosystems; however, its ability to constantly flourish also accredited to the nation’s government, which has shown exemplary improvement in its conservational efforts. The government has been able to achieve its status by regulating the country’s natural resources, and by laying the fundament for conservation-supportive tourism. Through these efforts, the country has actually become a world-leading example of how linking tourism with a growing protected area network can lead to a simultaneous growth of both socioeconomic and environmental concerns. Continue reading

Tmatboey Community Protected Area Ecotourism Project, Cambodia

Map of Tmatboey ecotourism protected area

WCS works with the Royal Government of Cambodia and community partners to conserve some of the rarest bird species at several sites across Cambodia. These rare birds attract specialist bird tourists, and so WCS has helped local communities develop the capacity to host tourists. Site-based tourism services are managed by an elected Community Protected Area Committee trained by WCS and its partners. Tourists contribute directly to the local economy through payments to villagers for services such as accommodation, guiding, cooking, transportation and Village Development Funds. Continue reading