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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Costa Rica


  General Description   The Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve is characterised by mountain ranges and plains. In the mountainous zones are the volcanoes Miravalles, Tenorio, Arenal, Chato and Platanar, among others, and in the plains area are lakes, flooded forests and swamps, some of which are Ramsar sites, such as Lake Caño Negro.

The reserve is comprised of eight core zones that are protected wildlife areas legally constituted in the country and that are administered through the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). This agency divides the country into 11 conservation areas, of which three are included in the Agua y Paz Biosphere Reserve, these areas are: the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area (ACAHN), the conservation area of the Arenal-Tempisque Biosphere Reserve (ACAT), and Cordillera Central Volcanic conservation area (ACCVC) .

In addition to this administrative division, Costa Rica is politically divided into Provinces, which are divided into Cantons, and these in turn Districts. The Biosphere Reserve completely covers the cantons of Los Chiles, Guatuso, San Carlos and Alfaro Ruiz, and partly the cantons of Upala, Grecia, Sarapiquí, Tilarán, Cañas, Puntarenas and Montes de Oro.

The estimated population in the territory covered by the Biosphere Reserve is 299 350 people representing about 7% of the total population in Costa Rica. Of this population, the vast majority is considered a rural population.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical Forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   Costa Rica uses Holdridge’s Life Zones classification of ecological zones, in which every area of life represents a distinctive habitat from the ecological point of view, and finally a different lifestyle. The areas of life in the Biosphere Reserve are: premontane rain forest, low montane rainforest, very humid tropical forest, very wet premontane forest, very wet low montane forest and tropical humid forest.
  Location   Sup.:11°05’11.35” latitude N, 84°29’58.59” longitude W
Inf.: 10°8’58.80” latitude N, 84°29’1.01” longitude W
E: 10°29’42.7” latitude N, 83°49’47” longitude W
W: 11°00’16.68” latitude N, 85°18’06.15” longitude W
Central: 10°36’48.29” latitude N, 84°35’54.55” longitude W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   916,120
  Core area(s)   149 959.7
  Buffer zone(s)   338 818.9
  Transition area(s) when given   427 342.1
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   20 - 2200 m
  Year designated   2007
  Administrative authorities  
  Brief description   In regards to abiotic factors, monitoring is done of seismology and volcanology in the areas of the Tenorio, Miravalles and Arenal volcanoes. In biological aspects, research is carried out by national scientists and foreigners within and outside of protected wildlife areas as in the example of the committees of the biological corridors existing in the region.
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate, geology, habitat, hydrology, toxicology/toxic substances, uv radiation/solar radiation.
  Biodiversity   Amphibians, biodiversity, biology, biotechnology, birds, coastal/marine, community studies/communities, conservation, degraded areas, ecosystem assessment, ecosystem functioning/ecosystem structure, endemic species, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, flora, forest systems, freshwater/inland water, invertebrates/insects/spiders, lagoon systems, mammals, mangrove, migrating populations/migration, mountain and highland systems, natural medicinal products, natural resources, perturbations/resilience/vulnerability, plants, productivity, rare/endangered/threatened species, reptiles, restoration/rehabilitation/redevelopment, species inventorying/inventory, temperate forest, tropical dry forest, tropical humid forest, vegetation studies/plant cover, volcanic/geothermal systems/volcano, wetlands, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Agriculture/Production systems, agroforestry, aquaculture/mariculture, archaeology/paleontology, capacity building, cultural aspects, demography, economic studies, economically important species, energy production systems/alternative energy, fishery/fisheries, forestry, human health, industry, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, mining, natural hazards, non-timber forest products/ntfp, pastoralism/pastoralists/grazing, poverty, recreation, resource use, role of women/gender, small business initiatives, social/socio-economic aspects, stakeholders' interests, tourism, traditional practices/ethnology/traditional knowledge.
  Integrated monitoring   Conflict, ecosystem approach, education and public awareness, geographic information system/gis, impact and risk studies/environmental impact, infrastructure, institutional and legal aspects, land tenure, land use/land cover, management issues, mapping, monitoring/methodologies, planning and zoning measures/zonation, rural systems, transboundary/transfrontiers, urban systems/towns/cities.
  Contact address   Marco Antonio Corrales
Plan de Acción para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Reserva de Biosfera Agua y Paz
Del MAG, 50 metros oeste. Penúltima oficina, mano izquierda. Ciudad Quesada
 San Carlos
Costa Rica
  Web site

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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