Costa Rica is an amazing place. A stable democratic middle income country in a region where other countries struggle to match its example.
Now it is notable for something more. Its improving environment. A 50% increase in forest cover
. That's huge. No - let me get that right. Doubling
forest cover. 50% of Costa Rica's forest did not exist 30 years ago. And now 50% of the country is forest covered. How did they do this?
To be clear Costa Rica suffered a lot of deforestation in the past, and so the recent increase is largely a restoration of what was lost, but the impact of this change is significant. Newly growing forest trees absorb a lot of carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere so that we all benefit. And unlike other reforestation projects, the albedo, or the reflectiveness, of the land has not changed significantly so local cooling is not changed significantly.
There is still a ways to go. If 50% of Costa Rica is covered in forest, in the 1940s that amount was 75% - so there has been some historical forest cover loss, and this is partial catch up. But the current increase is a huge improvement over the 25% forest cover that Costa Rica had by the 1980's.
Read the article for how it has achieved this massive change and consider how such policies could be used elsewhere in the tropics to reverse the forest loss that is still continuing. CNN
has more background too.