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      Biosphere Reserve Information

Costa Rica


  General Description   This biosphere reserve is located in the central highlands, about 60 km north-west to the city of San José. The Cordillera Volcánica Central reserve is one of the richest in both natural resources and cultural heritage. On its long axis there are several volcanic cones with their still well formed craters. It comprises four National Parks, such as the Poás and Irazú Volcano each rising over 3,000 meters above sea level, and both still active. It also encompasses two forest reserves, six protected zones and a national monument. Significant variation in its physical characteristics has fostered a very rich biological diversity evidenced by life zones ranging from wet and rain tropical forests to semi-paramos. Currently, only small patches of vegetation remain in the volcanic peak zone, generally in the riverbeds. Here it is possible to distinguish several oak species, and other trees such as (Escallonaceae), Dogwood (Cornaceae) and Magnolia (Magnoliaceae). The topography is very steep and broken with a great altitudinal range with many streams, waterfalls and several lakes. Premontane rainforest, tropical humid forest, lower montane rainforest and montane rainforest are the reserve’s major land cover types. Over 300,000 inhabitants live on land reform settlements surrounding La Selva Biological Station, engaged mainly in agriculture (coffee, cardamom, beans, manioc, maize, and black pepper) and animal husbandry. Management and economic strategies are intended for the protected area, such as forestry activities with emphasis in forest resource management and agro-forestry systems. A number of studies have been carried out, particularly in volcanology and geomorphology, with some work on flora and fauna.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forests / Mixed mountain and highland systems
  Major habitats & land cover types   Primary forest including uncommon species such as Metaxya rostrata, Tectaria brauniana, Justicia sarapiquensis, Sphaeradenia carrilloana, Asplundia ferruginea, Elvira cupreiceps,Quercus tonduzii, Prumnopitys standleyi, Podocarpus oleifolius and Automeris kopturae; ranches; agroforestry; agroecosystems with citrus fruit
  Location   09°39' to 10°49'N; 83°22' to 84°20'W
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   144,363
  Core area(s)   44,901
  Buffer zone(s)   99,462
  Transition area(s) when given   -
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +37 to +3,432
  Year designated   1988
  Administrative authorities   Area de Conservación Cordillera Volcánica Central Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservación (SINAC) Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía
  Brief description   Climatology
Wildlife biology
Growth, mortality and regeneration of plants
Long-term ecology
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Climate.
  Biodiversity   Afforestation/Reforestation, biology, ecology, plants, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   n.a.
  Integrated monitoring   n.a.
  Contact address   Oscar Zúñiga
Director, ACCVC-SINAC, Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía
Apartado Postal 10104-1000
 San José
Costa Rica
  Telephone   (506) 268 5962
(506) 268 6756
  Fax   (506) 268 8096

Last updated: 08/03/2011

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