THIS Central American Republic, which has coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, has a land area of 19,725 sq. mi. (51,100 sq. km.), with a population of 4,238,000 (2005 est.), and a population density of 220 people per sq. mi. (85 people per sq. km.). Only 6 percent of the country is arable, the smallest percentage of any of the Central American countries; 46 percent is meadow and pasture, much of it used for raising cattle, which, in turn, contribute to an increase in methane. Over 34 percent of the country is still forested, and there have been stringent ecological controls, with the Costa Rican tourist industry relying on an eco-friendly image. Twenty-seven percent of Costa Rica is covered by a system of national parks, wildlife refuges, and biological reserves.
The most prosperous country in Central America, there is extensive public transportation throughout
Costa Rica, with the local bus service regarded as the best in Central America. There has been a recent promotion of the use of bicycles. The carbon dioxide emissions per capita for Costa Rica have risen from 0.9 metric tons per person in 1990, to 1.5 metric tons per person in 1994, and then stabilized between 1.3 and 1.5 metric tons per person per year. Carbon dioxide emissions come from liquid fuels (88 percent), and from the manufacture of cement (12 percent), with negligible use of solid fuels or gaseous fuels.
Partly because of the increasing reliance on eco-tourism, there have been many studies of wildlife in the country. The reduction of the dry-season mists, owing to the increase in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean, has been linked to the disappearance of about 20 species of frogs and toads previously found in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, northwest of the capital, San José. Medical studies have also shown that there has been an increase in the spread of dengue fever, which had previously not been known over 3,300 ft. (1,006 m.), now being found at 4,000 ft. (1,219 m.).
The Costa Rican government of Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and on April 27, 1994, in its last month in office, the government of José María Figueres Olsen signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, a decision that was ratified on August 9, 2002, and took effect on February 16, 2005. Support for the Costa Rican government's role has been given by the National Biodiversity Institute, located in San José, with N. Mateo addressing the Fifth World Bank Conference on Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at Washington, D.C., in October 1997. The increase in cyclones through global warming and climate change was discussed at the World Meteorological Organization's 6th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, held at San José in November 2006.
SEE ALSO: Forests; Hurricanes and Typhoons; Tourism; Transportation.
BIBLIOGRApHY. "Dengue Fever in Costa Rica and Panama," Epidemiological Bulletin (v.15/2, 1994); A. Troyo, et al., "Dengue in Costa Rica: The Gap in Local Scientific Research," Revista Panamamerica de Salud Publica
(v.20/5, 2006); World Resources Institute, "Costa Rica-Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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