Ecology

The tropical zones of the American continent (Neotropics), where Costa Rica is located, contain a greater diversity of species and ecosystems, as well as a broader range of interactions, compared with other tropical regions of the world. Obviously, this diversity is also much greater than that of temperate and cold regions.

With a land area of only 51.100 km2 (0.03% of the planetís surface) and 589.000 km2 of territorial waters, Costa Rica is considered to be one of the 20 countries with greatest biodiversity in the world. Its geographic position, its two coasts and its mountainous system, which provides numerous and varied microclimates, are some of the reasons that explain this natural wealth, both in terms of species and ecosystems. The more than 500,000 species that are found in this small country represent nearly 4% of the total species estimated worldwide. Of these 500,000 species, just over 300,000 are insects.

A little over 25% of the countryís territory is under some category of protection, and this percentage is increasing thanks to the support of the private sector, which has created many private reserves dedicated mainly to ecotourism and research. This is a conservation effort that few countries in the world have undertaken and in which Costa Rica has invested substantial resources for the well-being of present and future generations.

Costarica has:

∑ 130 species of freshwater fish
∑ 160 species of amphibians
∑ 208 species of mammals
∑ 1,600 species of fresh and salt water fish
∑ 220 species of reptiles
∑ 850 species of birds
∑ 1,000 species of butterflies
∑ 1,200 varieties of orchids
∑ 9,000 species of plants
∑ 34,000 species of insects
∑ Canal networks through jungles
∑ Cloud forests
∑ Coral reefs
∑ Deciduous forests
∑ Elevations from sea level to 12,529 feet
∑ Mangrove swamps
∑ Rain forests
∑ Tropical dry forests
∑ Volcanoes (112 craters)
∑ White, black, and pink shell beaches on both coasts
∑ Extensive networks of rivers

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