ENERGY GLOBE
Costa Rica

WINNER:
Asociación Conservación Osa

With the Project:
“Effective strengthening of mangrove ecosystems in Costa Rica (Térraba Sierpe) and improvement of the quality of life of the local coastal population "

The mangrove restoration project has been coordinated with the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación from Costa Rica, which manages the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetland (HNTS). The HNTS houses the largest mangrove ecosystem in Costa Rica and one of the largest in Central America, however, deforestation, extension of the agricultural frontier, erosion and effects of climate change have become a threat to one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. Within the HNTS´s mangrove ecosystem there are more than 2,500 hectares dominated by the Acrostichum aureum fern. The dominance of the fern in these areas is due to deforestation decades ago. The fern prevents the natural regeneration of the mangrove so intervention is necessary. These sites are restored as a strategy for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, however, it is necessary to find the best strategy ecologically and economically. In the past years, the generation of experiences has led to the improvement of the techniques used. So far, the restoration of 40.6 hectares has been achieved.

INITIAL SITUATION

Mangrove ecosystems are one of the most valuable coastal ecosystems in the world, but also one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In recent decades, they have been destroyed at an alarming rate. As a result of deforestation, water pollution and other threats such as climate change, the mangrove ecosystems of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica are at risk. Both the mangroves in the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland (HNTS) and the mangrove ecosystems in the Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula show signs of deterioration. Mangroves of the South Pacific of Costa Rica, mainly those of the inner part of Golfo Dulce, have received little attention. Degraded mangrove ecosystems due to pressure from anthropogenic activities are common but there is a lack of documentation in the Golfo Dulce and the HNTS. However, having feasible information is necessary to facilitate their conservation.

SOLUTION

Osa Conservation is a non-profit organization founded in 2003. Is composed of Costa Rican and international professionals dedicated to preserving globally significant biodiversity of Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula. The Osa is home to roughly 2.5% of the world's biodiversity while covering less than a thousandth of a percent of its total surface area. An interdisciplinary approach is used, grounded in sound science, innovative partnerships, environmental stewardship, and informed decision-making. Therefore, Osa Conservation works closely with local, national, and international stakeholders. The mangrove restoration project can be considered as a project against climate change with mitigation and adaptation through restoration, carbon sequestration and working on strengthening communities. The goal is to deliver clear results to government agencies, and the private sector, outlining the most efficient ways to simultaneously restore mangroves and stimulate local economies.

INNOVATION

This project utilizes innovative applications of technology in the context of this rural, underdeveloped region of Costa Rica. Drones are used to monitor the growth and health status of the mangrove restoration sites. Local capacities for research technology were built by training local piangua harvesters to use GPS systems and compasses. In collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Geographic Labs, acoustic devices were installed in the mangrove restoration sites to assess the impact of the restoration treatments on bird populations, including the endemic mangrove hummingbirds (Amazilia boucardi).

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