Photo essay: How Costa Rica accounts for 5% of global biodiversity

Central American nation has one of world's highest concentrations of wildlife, with 500,000 species

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Unesco has issued a call to protect biodiversity in Central America.

Studies estimate up to 12 per cent of the world’s biodiversity lies in countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, although they are vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Costa Rica accounts for more than 5 per cent of the global total.

“We are committed to transforming our region through three fundamental pillars: restoring the relationship between humans and nature, conserving our ecosystems and empowering youth as agents of change,” said Alexander Leicht, director of Unesco's office in San Jose, Costa Rica's capital.

"We know that only through partnerships can we build a sustainable future, avoiding the loss of biodiversity."

Costa Rica is threatened by a growing human population, environmental degradation, pollution and deforestation. However, Unesco says there is still hope if people can change their habits and adopt more suitable practices in their daily lives, such as reducing water consumption, consuming local and seasonal products, recycling and eliminating single-use plastics.

Education also raises awareness about positive change, especially by spotlighting the importance of biodiversity and endangered ecosystems with the idea to encourage the next generation to advocate for nature.

Costa Rica is estimated to have more than 500,000 species of plants and animals, making it one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. More than 300,000 are insects, thanks to the many forests spread across its 51,000 square metres of land.

There are three natural sites on the Unesco World Heritage list in the country: Talamanca Range-La Amistad Reserves (La Amistad National Park); Cocos Island National Park; and the Guanacaste Conservation Area.

Updated: June 23, 2023, 6:01 PM