By Shannon Farley
Costa Rica’s success story with reforestation is quite amazing. The Central American nation did a complete turn-around from being one of the most deforested countries in the world by the early 1980s, to today being over 52 percent covered with forest.
The country’s progressive reforestation and environmental protection practices earned it the honor of being named the third best Green Country in the World in the 2014 Global Green Economy Index (GGEI).
Costa Rica’s astounding environmental recovery is thanks to its excellent system of national parks, and private reserves and wildlife refuges.
Many private reserves in Costa Rica, like the one at Arenal Observatory Lodge, aid the country’s forestry plan with involvement in programs of the Costa Rica National Forest Financing Fund (FONAFIFO).
For more than 10 years, Arenal Observatory Lodge has participated in the Environmental Services Payment (PSA) Program of FONAFIFO.
The PSA Program financially compensates forest and forest plantation owners for the environmental services they provide, which have a direct impact on Costa Rica’s environmental protection and improvement. The financial compensation helps these owners grow and maintain their forest reserves. And in turn, their forests:
- Mitigate greenhouse effect gas emissions
- Protect water resources
- Conserve biodiversity and ecosystems
- Protect the beauty of natural landscapes
From the very beginning, Arenal Observatory Lodge has been committed to environmental protection, efficiently using its resources, and minimally impacting their natural surroundings. The lodge’s land under contract with the PSA program is untouched primary forest which holds great importance for its high biodiversity and permanent water sources that supplement water facilities in the Arenal Volcano National Park.
Additionally, around the hotel, reforested and replanted green areas and gardens also help protect soil and water resources and increase natural food sources for abundant wildlife in the area, especially birds.
If you are a traveler who makes it a priority to stay at eco-friendly hotels, you can read even more about Arenal Observatory Lodge’s sustainable tourism practices here.