Costa Rica map

Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes 8° and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It borders the Caribbean Sea (to the east) and the Pacific Ocean (to the west). It is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world (developing world average 13%, developed world average 8%). Costa Rica has successfully managed to diminish deforestation from some of the worst rates in the world from 1973 to 1989, to almost zero by 2005. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
5,106,000 hectares
Area of forest
54.0% of land area
Area of agriculture
35.6% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
6.3% of land area


4.8 million
Population growth
1.1% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP per person
10629.80 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
1.60 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
Bonn Challenge Commitments
Goal year
Date committed
Area committed
1,000,000 hectares
Potential economic benefit
314 million USD
Potential climate benefit
0.09 GtCO2 sequestered
Main forest types
Tropical/subtropical moist broadleaf forest
Highlighted benefits

In 2012, Minister Dr. René Castro-Salazar, Minister for Environment, Energy and Telecommunications from Costa Rica announced 1 million hectare pledge at the UNFCCC COP18 in Doha, Qatar.

National Restoration Targets
Total restoration target
234,347 hectares
Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) – FCPF
Propuesta para la Preparación de Readiness: R-PP Costa Rica (in Spanish) (2011)

Strategy Options - Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Strategic Options

  • Carbon capture in national parks through monitoring, control borders and fires, and compensation for expropriated landowners - $18 million/year for 2010-2030 (p. 42)
  • Increased carbon sequestration by inducing natural regeneration & establishment of forest plantations for raw materials (p. 43)
    • PES for regeneration/reforestation: 724,000 ha (potential)
    • PES for forest plantations: 8,500 ha/year
    • Agroforestry (for consideration) 
REDD+ Strategy
Restoration target
234,347 hectares
World Bank Press Release -- Costa Rica First to Negotiate Sale of Forestry Carbon Credits (2013)

Costa Rica and the FCPF have entered an agreement through a LOI to formulate an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement for $63 million

The LOI and carbon credit purchase is set to conserve and regenerate forest, and scale up agroforestry systems on a total of 340,000 ha through the PES program within the National Forestry Fund

The breakdown of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) activities include:

  • 19,191 ha PES for avoided deforestation on second generation forest
  • 124,282 ha PES for early regeneration of forest
  • 72,132 ha PES for forest plantations (and agroforestry systems)
  • 18,742 ha PES for early regeneration (on indigenous reserves)
Plan de acción Estrategia Nacional Cambio Climático (in Spanish) (2009)

National agenda for carbon capture (p. 18)

  • 124,000 ha regeneration (budget: $124.4 million)
  • 72,000 ha establishing forest plantations or agroforestry (budget: $112.7 million)
  • 18,742 ha induced regeneration on indigenous reserves (will be part of ERPD) (budget: $21.9 million)
  • 19,191 ha PES for avoided deforestation on second generation forests (regeneration)
  • 107,600 ha PES for avoided deforestation in old growth forest

Maintain forest cover at 52.6%

National Climate Change Strategy (in Spanish) (2009)

Mitigation, Action: carbon-capture-storage (p. 53) through Natural regeneration, Agroforestry, and Reforestation

Emission Reduction Program Idea Note (ER-PIN) – FCPF
Emission Reductions Program Idea Note (ER-PIN): Costa Rica (2013)

Description of planned and ongoing activities under the proposed ER program includes expansion of PES for regeneration and reforestation (p. 30):

  • (potential) 724,000 ha for regeneration or reforestation on lands whose use is disputed
  • (potential) 650,000 ha private land being farmed that could be used for forestry (plan to induce regeneration and/or promote reforestation by providing PES incentives)
FLR Assessments

Costa Rica is in the process of defining its restoration objectives. Some criteria could include: increasing wood and bio-energy sources, recovering lost biodiversity, reducing climate vulnerability, enhancing soil conservation and food production, increasing / stablising drinking water supplies and reducing water pollution and increasing the availability of water for hydro-electric projects. 

Take a look at their opportunity map:

Costa Rica opportunity map

The opportunity area is 2,622,050 ha. 

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